VALATIE–BJ Cantele, who plans to open a carwash on Route 9/Kinderhook Street in the village, was back before the Village Board earlier this month to ask for some forgiveness on back taxes. Village taxes were not paid by the previous owner when Mr. Cantele bought the property about three years ago.
In 2015, Mr. Cantele came to the board to tell them he planned to buy the building and put a carwash on the site. There were no objections from the board at that time to Mr. Cantele’s plan but Mayor Diane Argyle asked that during the sale he make sure that the back taxes and water and sewer bills were paid. “They have to be made good,” Mr. Cantele said three years ago of the debts.
After going through the process for approvals with the village’s Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals, Mr. Cantele put up a sign at the site saying there would soon be a carwash and a cafe in what previously was the Val Kin restaurant, though construction has not yet started.
He came back to Village Board May 8 asking the board to forgive some of the penalties for the past-due taxes. “It’s probably an extraordinary case,” Mr. Cantele said of the amount due on his property. The Village Board says about $34,000 in back taxes is owed.
When asked by board members why he didn’t pay the taxes at the closing of the sale on the property, Mr. Cantele said they did not show up on the title search for the property.
Village Attorney Rob Fitzsimmons, who was at the meeting, explained that the title company doing the search needed to come to the village to ask about the back taxes before the closing, since village taxes are separate from county taxes. “Nobody called the village,” said Mayor Argyle, who added the village was not notified of the closing.
Mr. Cantele said that some of the charges go back to 2006 and he questioned why the village didn’t go after the former owner for the taxes. “Somebody should have thrown a padlock on that building in 2010,” Mr. Cantele said.
Mayor Argyle said that the back taxes need to paid and that other property owners in the village have been paying their late taxes with penalties without any relief. The Village Board has given relief on penalties for late water and sewer bills. Board member Frank Bevens said that the board has done this for people who have come to board and asked for help paying the bills. He asked the mayor whether anyone has come to the board to ask for relief on the penalties for taxes.
“I have had people ask for forgiveness,” she said, referring to late taxes.
Mr. Bevens said they should look at tax penalty forgiveness on case-by-case basis.
Board member Angelo Nero supported giving Mr. Cantele some relief since the Canteles would be paying taxes going forward on the property. “I think we should try to help him along,” said Mr. Nero.
Ms. Argyle said the village couldn’t afford to give breaks on penalties and that the village is going to “crack down” on property owners with late taxes.
Mary Cantele, who was also at the meeting, said they had followed the village laws to open their business in the village, and they also saved the Val Kin building. “This whole project has taken about three years,” she said.
Mr. Cantele ask the board to review their request for some forgiveness on the bill. The board did not make any decision at the meeting.
Also at the meeting:
• The board approved moving forward with a plan for an easement on land next to the Trolley Station at the corner of Main Street and Route 9 so that the Albany-Hudson Electric Trail can use the land for a walking and biking trail the state plans to fund and build by 2020. The strip of land is between the Trolley Station and a house that sits on the banks of the Valatie Kill.
The trail will run down the northwest side of the county on a National Grid right-of-way where possible. Parts of the tail will go through the village, mostly behind the houses on Route 9
The next meeting will be Tuesday, June 12 at 7 p.m. in the Martin H. Glynn Municipal Building.
To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email