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NEWS FROM THE OFFICE OF

ULSTER COUNTY COMPTROLLER

ELLIOTT AUERBACH
ELLIOTT AUERBACH COUNTY COMPTROLLER 244 FAIR STREET KINGSTON, NEW YORK 12401
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PHONE: 845: 340-3529 eaue@co.ulster,ny.us


www.co.ulster.ny.us/resources/comptroller

FOUR ULSTER COUNTY TOWNS DID NOT RE-LEVY PARTIALLY EXEMPT PROPERTIES AFTER THEY WERE SOLD
SAUGERTIES & N. P. RESIDENTS COULD BE PAYING MORE THAN THEIR FAIR SHARE OF TAXES KINGSTON, NY (February 28, 2013).Ulster County Comptroller Elliott Auerbach has released a report citing certain municipalities for failing to re-levy property taxes against recently sold properties. The result, he says, is an inequity for other taxpayers in those municipalities, and a broader concern that municipal assessors know and understand their obligations under the law. During 2011 and 2012, 7,491 properties were sold/transferred in Ulster County and of those, 476 enjoyed partial property tax exemptions because the seller may have been a veteran, a senior or disabled. Four Towns: Olive, Hardenburgh, New Paltz and Saugerties accounted for over 1,500 of the 2011/2012 sales, with 209 of them being partially exempt properties. Unlike the other sixteen (16) towns, these four did not perform the prescribed re-levy, resulting in what could be as much as a $65,000.00 inequity over the two year period studied. Under New York State law, many property owners are entitled to certain exemptions or credits to their real estate taxes, based, for example, on their status as veterans or seniors, etc. When properties enjoying such reductions in taxes are sold to a new owner not entitled to the same tax break, local assessors are required by law to note that change in status and re-levy the appropriate tax for the period between the sale of the property and the new tax year. If this re-levy is not done, then the tax burden on all residents is calculated and distributed and the remaining taxpayers bear an increased share of the burden. Each municipality may be collecting the correct aggregate tax, so in that sense, the issue is revenue neutral, Comptroller Auerbach notes. But when some taxpayers are not paying the amount they should be paying, all other taxpayers are paying more than they should. He adds that the numbers, when broken out on a pertaxpayer basis, are not staggering, but as property owners we would want to know that we are paying our fair share of town, county and school taxes. Part of my charge as County Comptroller is to protect the public interest by monitoring the operation of County government to ensure that it is efficient and financially sound. County taxpayers are impacted by the actions of these municipal taxing authorities, and the failure of some of those taxing jurisdictions to follow this law should be a red flag to heighten awareness of all of the legal obligations municipal governments must be aware of in its duties to residents and taxpayers, Auerbach stated. The PROPERTY RE-LEVY REPORT www.ulstercountyny.gov/comptroller/ can be found on the Comptrollers website at

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The mission of the Ulster County Comptrollers Office is to serve as an independent agency of the people and to protect the public interest by monitoring County government and to assess and report on the degree to which its operation is economical, efficient and its financial condition sound.