County renews mortgage, transfer taxes

HUDSON–The Columbia County Board of Supervisors voted on August 9 to continue taxes on certain real estate transactions, with one supervisor—Edward Nabozny (I-Greenport)–voting no. The renewed taxes are on real property transfers by sale, exchange, foreclosure, eminent domain, or other means (Local Law 3) and on mortgages (Local Law 4). These taxes have been in effect for several years, but they have time limits, and when their expiration approaches, the board has extended them. After the extensions approved August 9 the laws will remain in force until at least December 31, 2020.

Before the vote, the Board held a public hearing on each tax. Supervisor Richard Keaveney (R-Canaan) asked for and received verification that the taxes are not new but rather extensions of taxes already in place. For each tax Chairman Matt Murrell (R-Stockport) asked if there were any more comments from the supervisors, and when none were heard he closed the hearing and put the matter to vote.

Typically, county Board of Supervisors resolutions pass unanimously. But Mr. Nabozny voted against both mesures. The mortgage and transfer taxes are “limited,” he later explained. He said they apply only to some people, namely first-time home buyers and people seeking “to move up the economic ladder” by buying a more valuable property. Mr. Nabozny said he prefers the sales tax, because all the people pay it.

“I don’t think the mortgage and transfer taxes are needed,” he said. “I just feel that some of our taxes do not have to be imposed.” He added that he believes that some taxes “should be taken away.”

The text of Local Law 4 says the county has been receiving “a necessary benefit ” from the mortgage tax and “the continuation and renewal of the tax would result in a benefit to the residents of the county.”

Local Law 3 states that the purpose of the transfer tax is “to help alleviate the fiscal challenges the county is currently facing and to minimize dependence on real property taxes by providing an alternate source of revenue.”

Following the vote on the taxes the board proceeded to its monthly meeting at which the board:

• Authorized a mental health satellite clinic on Ichabod Crane Central School District premises

• Approved $12,000 for an Opioid Epidemic Public Health Education campaign

• Approved a “no adverse environmental impact” checklist required for a plan to purchase 9.7 acres in the Gerald R. Simons Commerce Park for the purpose of “housing a training center for its firefighters as well as for emergency vehicles and equipment”

• Heard Supervisor William Hughes (D-Hudson, 4th Ward) thank “the firefighters of Hudson, who responded very quickly to a house fire on Columbia Street” the previous day

The next Full Board meeting of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors will take place Wednesday, September 13 at 7:30 pm at 401 State Street in Hudson.

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