GLENS FALLS — Mayor Dan Hall will be in Albany on Monday to advocate for allowing municipalities to impose a service charge on tax-exempt properties, which make up nearly one-quarter off the city’s assessed value.
The proposal by the New York Conference of Mayors will allow communities to enact a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement for tax-exempt entities that own property greater than 1 percent of the total taxable value in the municipality. The payment amount would equal 10 percent of what the property would be assessed if it was taxable.
Hall pointed out that more than 23 percent of the properties in the city are tax-exempt.
“While these organizations contribute a great deal in terms of services for residents of the region, we need a way for these organizations to contribute to the cost of services the city provides them,” he said in a news release on Friday.
Hall said in a follow-up phone call that other communities such as Albany, Schenectady and Troy have worked out payment agreements with tax-exempt properties, and he believes it is time for Glens Falls to be in the conversation.
Hall said he has not spoken with any of the nonprofit entities but plans to put together an ad-hoc committee.
The city’s total assessed value is about $1.058 billion, of which $254 million is wholly tax-exempt, according to 2018 Warren County assessment records. Exempt properties include nonprofits, religious organizations, health care facilities and educational institutions.
Also on the agenda will be a push to stop a cut proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo of $59 million to the aid to municipalities program. The conference will also lobbying for more highway and infrastructure money.
Cuomo is proposing to reduce the aid to localities from $714.7 million to $655.5 million.
Hall said Cuomo is cutting funding mostly for villages and towns. The city funding is staying flat, which has been the case for about 12 years. But he worried that the funding would be cut completely next year.
“I want to jump in and support the communities that have been cut,” he said.
Another priority of the group is for the state to increase funding for water and sewer infrastructure and create a program for water infrastructure similar to the CHIPS highway money municipalities are awarded every year.
The conference is also backing a proposal to allow municipalities to take title to abandoned commercial property and streamline the process for requiring notice. It also wants to shorten the time that properties can remain in tax foreclosure before municipalities can seize ownership — from two years to one year.
In addition, the group wants the state to allow local governments to force mortgage holders to complete the foreclosure process. Right now, some financial institutions delay completing the process, so properties are left in limbo. These properties technically still belong to the prior owners, even if they have abandoned the residence, because the bank has not yet taken ownership. Such properties often fall into a state of disrepair.
The group also wants to strengthen the state’s Land Bank program.
The conference is also lobbying for a series of tax code changes, including a more equitable sharing with villages of revenue from the collection of Internet sales tax.
It also wants to expand the scope of the gross receipts tax on utility companies to include cellular services and require energy service companies to pay this tax.