Catskill gives Wal-Mart tax break

This Greenport Wal-Mart is empty since the new larger store opened down the street last year.


Town, Wal-Mart settle dispute
The Daily Mail, 05.05.10

Wal-Mart in Catskill gets break on tax bill
The Daily Freeman, 05.06.10

Catskill is reducing the property tax assessment on the local Wal-Mart $1.67 million, reducing their total to $13.5 million, covering the years 2010 through 2012, effectively granting the giant corporation from Arkansas a large tax break. The Daily Mail first says Catskill is giving Wal-Mart the tax break, “avoiding a costly legal battle.” Then Supervisor Peter Markou reveals a bit more: “We’ve already spent $75,000 in assessment cases,” Markou told The Daily Mail, or said during the meeting. “That’s more than I’ve budgeted for.” Then Colin DeVries, The Daily Mail scribe writes, “The town’s 2010 budget included $40,000 for assessment litigation.” William J. Kemble in The Daily Freeman writes, “the reduction, approved at a Town Board meeting Tuesday, is a step toward settling a grievance by the retail giant. Officials said the settlement, which still requires a judge’s approval, was recommended to avoid further court expenses.” Then he quotes Markou — looks like he said it in the meeting — “This town has already spent $75,000 (since 2008) in assessment cases,” said town Supervisor Peter Markou. “That’s a lot of money. That’s way beyond the budgeted (amount) that I had in there.” Kemble’s story is a day late, but no dollars short. He spent the day following the money:

Town Assessor Nancy McCoy said Wednesday that Wal-Mart paid $530,00 in town, county and school taxes in 2009, and this year is expected to save about $62,000 with the reduced assessment. McCoy said the town has spent $10,100 since January to appraise and defend assessments against five major business. “It’s all ‘big boxes,’” Markou said. “They are all going to challenge their assessments. It’s a good year to do it. The economy is in the crapper.” Besides Wal-Mart, the following companies are also seeking assessment reductions:

• Holcim Cement Co., on U.S. Route 9W, from $10,135,700 to $1,650,00. The case was filed in 2008.

• Home Depot, on state Route 23B, from $8,995,100 to $4,060,000. The case was filed in 2009.

• Lowe’s, on state Route 23A, from $7,099,000 to $3,480,000. The case was filed in 2008.

• Rite Aid, on Route 23A, from $1.8 million to $500,000. The case was filed in 2009.

“You have to pick and choose your battles,” McCoy said. “You do the analysis to see if the assessment is supportable and then weigh the cost of supporting assessment versus the possibility of losing it; what it costs versus what you could save by not going to court and settling.”

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Molinaro talks in Hudson at Space360

Assemblyman Marc Molinaro (R,C,I-Red Hook) brought State Assembly Republican Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,I,C-Canandaigua) to a public meeting of about 20 people at Space 360 in Hudson today at 5:30 p.m. The two Assemblymen mingled with the guests including Catskill Town Supervisor Peter Markou, Columbia County Planning and Economic Development Commissioner Ken Flood, and Bill Jacoby, whose NYC-based Wind Products is looking to manufacture wind-power generators in Columbia County in two years. Molinaro spoke with a WGXC reporter for five minutes before a public question-and-answer session with Kolb that lasted over 30 minutes. Audio mp3 recordings of the interview and questioning are below. The event preceded Molinaro and Kolb’s public forum to discuss the People’s Convention to Reform New York Act at the Hudson Elks Club.

Marc Molinaro

Marc Molinaro

Click here to listen to mp3 recording of WGXC interview with Marc Molinaro or paste this url into your media player:

NY State Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, Catskill Town Supervisor Peter Markou, and State Assemblyman Marc Molinaro at Space360.

Click here to listen to mp3 recording of Marc Molinaro and Brian Kolb’s public meeting question-and-answer session at Space360 on Wed. Apr. 21 or paste this url into your media player:

Today’s local headlines

(NY State Assemblyman Peter Lopez interviewed by Cairo-Durham High students Michael Davis and Jordan Smith at the Catskill Community Center Sat. Aug. 22, 2009. Photo by Galen Joseph-Hunter.)

Politicians turn out in Catskill despite rain
Click here to listen to or download mp3 interview of NY State Assemblyman Peter Lopez by WGXC’s Jordan Smith and Michael Davis at the Catskill Community Center. WGXC interviewed members of the community yesterday in the Catskill Community Center.
Catskill and regional politicians and artists turned out Saturday despite the rain to celebrate the Quadricentennial (400 years of European folk on the Hudson River) Parade in Catskill. Organizer Fawn Potash wrangled all sorts of fabulous sorts such as singer Lex Grey as a mermaid on a float, a Rip Van Winkle impersonator, Kelly Benjamin on WGXC’s Radio Bike, Catskill Community Center‘s Drum and Bugle Corps, bagpipe player Ian Rawlinson, and the Freehold Civil Air Patrol Vanguard Squad, as well as local politicians such as Vincent Seeley (Town President), Peter Lopez (district Assemblyman), Greene County Legslators Keith Valentine (R, majority leader), Karen Deyo (R), and Forest Cotten (D), Catskill Town Supervisor Peter Markou, Town Councilmen Patrick Walsh and Michael Smith, and many others. Hilary Hawke has a good overview of the day’s events and more images on The Daily Mail’s web site.