Town of Ulster settles three large assessment cases

TOWN OF ULSTER, N.Y. – Town Board members have settled three tax sessment cases with lower values on the properties without having to refund previous payments.

The lawsuits were discussed during a meeting Thursday, with Supervisor James Quigley noting that two of the cases involved large commercial properties for Walmart and its adjacent business as well as the Lowe’s property.

“We preserve our liquidity by not having to make refunds,” he said. “We make the adjustment in the forward period and figure out how we’re going to deal with it then.”

The cases included 71-77 Kukuk Lane with an assessment reduce from $1.2 million to $800,000; Hudson Valley 2011/Wal-Mart Real Estate Trust at 501-799 Frank Sottile Boulevard reduced from $21.5 million to $19 million; and Hudson Valley 2011/Lowe’s at 901 Frank Sottile Boulevard reduced from $7,365,540 to $6,962,757.

The 71-77 Kukuk Lane property, which is 4.9 acres, in March was approved as an arugula and herb growing facility. Information was not immediately available on the status of that business, which was going to construct a 3,000-square-foot greenhouse in addition to using the site’s existing 35,374-square-foot warehouse.

The Walmart property, which is 16.1 acres, includes the storefronts along the same level as the supermarket as well as those on the upper level behind the anchor store.

Lowe’s property is 11.3 acres and adjacent to the Walmart parcel.

Quigley noted there are other commercial properties that are challenging assessments and the owners may not settle their cases as amicably as Walmart and Lowe’s, with both those businesses remaining open during the COVID-19 pandemic. He added that more business owners are expected to seek lower valuations in 2021 based on reduced customer traffic.

“These (current) values … were reflective of past incomes prior to March 1, 2020,” he said. “We have four hotels in this community, one of which is closed, meaning zero business … and the other three are crying the blues. That’s going to reflect in next year’s tax (cases) when … they sue based upon the 12-month income stream.”

Quigley said challenges from TechCity owner Alan Ginsberg has been wrapped up for properties on the former west campus, which is now owned by Ulster County, and information has not been received on whether new attorneys have been retained for a pending Dec. 1 court date on the east campus.

Published by Daily Freeman

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