No easy answers to tax imbalance in Marlborough

TOWN OF MARLBOROUGH – Residents who live in the Town of Marlborough’s portion of the Marlboro School District say their taxes are out of whack, compared to what other entities pay … specifically, the Town of Newburgh, Plattekill, and Dynegy, which owns the two power plants in the district. Ulster County Legislator Richard Gerentine, with help from two citizens, organized a forum to look closely at the problem, and to put in a pitch for state legislation that would, in their words, promote “equity and uniformity in the real property tax system’s assessment process”.

Gerentine said there are three parts of the problem. “One was the settlement with Dynegy.  Another was Marlborough did a 100 percent revaluation.  Third, the real estate prices actually declined immensely.  The combination of all three created a big storm for us.”

Some possible relief from the storm, coincidentally, came yesterday.  The state Assembly acted on a bill, introduced by Assemblyman Frank Skartados, which would grant the school district a recalculation of state aid from 2002, when the power plants were acquired by Dynegy, which immediately sought and obtained a lower assessment.  The other part of the bill would allow the school district to bond up to $11 million over 30 years, to refund taxes paid on the power plants.

That came as welcome news, but the specific legislation they are seeking mandates that municipalities should be required by law to assess real property at 100 percent of true market value, updated on an annual basis.

As for the claim that Marlborough is the only municipality biting the bullet, one Town of Newburgh resident, who graduated from Marlboro High School, disagreed. “To me, this is coming out to be ‘pick on Newburgh’,” he said, drawing some applause.

Maureen Carpenick, president of the Marlborough Taxpayers’ Association, noted there are 282 properties on the market in the town.

“I want to pay a fair tax,” said Donald Holzhammer, a Marlborough resident.

About 200 people attended the Tuesday night forum at Marlboro High School.

Source: Mid-Hudson News Network.

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