HUDSON–The Columbia County Board of Supervisors wrapped up 2016 with a meeting December 28, where they passed resolutions levying routine taxes and indicated hope for the year ahead.
One resolution called for adding unpaid school tax amounts to county tax bills that go out to property owners in January. It applies to people who still have not yet paid the 2016-17 school taxes on property they own in Columbia County. The exception is property in Hudson–the Hudson City School District has its own city-run tax collection arrangement.
In October individual school districts tell the county what school taxes, if any, remain unpaid. The county, ‘‘as a courtesy,” sends out new bills to these people in November, Thomas Daus, assistant to the county treasurer, said by phone December 30. Those who do not pay the November bills will see the school tax bill they owe plus 7% interest added to their January County tax bill.
Supervisor Patrick Grattan (R-Kinderhook), a former chairman of the Board of Supervisors, said after the December 28 meeting that in recent years, the county has stepped up “aggressive tax collection,” and about 30-45% of those dunned for school taxes in January have paid them by April.
In April the county pays school districts the amounts still due to them, and the tax-delinquent property owners become eligible for foreclosure proceedings by the county.
Still-unpaid school taxes, as of the last week of December, amounted to $6.7 million for Columbia County properties. There was $870,000 still owed on property in the Hudson City School District (HCSD); and $5.8 million is from 2,184 property parcels elsewhere in the county, according to information supplied by the Treasurer’s Office.
Of the total unpaid taxes outside the city limits, $582,000 is for property which, though it is in Columbia County, is also within school districts that are primarily in Dutchess and Rensselaer Counties (Pine Plains, Red Hook, Schodack and Webutuck). The remaining tax debts are for property in the Chatham, Germantown, Ichabod Crane, New Lebanon and Taconic Hills districts.
A year ago, in December 2015, still-owed school taxes amounted to $6.4 million: $876 thousand from property in the HCSD and $5.6 million from 2,178 parcels elsewhere in the County, according to Mr. Daus.
Back at the December 28 meeting, Supervisor William Hughes (D-Hudson, 4th Ward), the board’s minority leader, said, “I would like to congratulate everyone for 2016. I think we put together a good budget. We worked together in a bi-partisan fashion. “
“I’d like to echo Mr. Hughes,” said Mr. Grattan, the majority leader.
Supervisor Matt Murrell (Stockport), Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, concluded, “I think 2016 has been a very productive year. I look forward to working with everybody in 2017!”
The board held an organizational meeting Tuesday, January 3. The next full County Board meeting will take place Wednesday, January 11 at 7:30 pm at 401 State Street in Hudson.