Town Assessor places Legionaries property back on the tax rolls
Monday, June 9, 2014
by Christine Yeres
New Castle’s tax roll for 2014 shows that the Legionaries of Christ property at 773 Armonk Road has lost its tax exempt status. The owners may appeal the decision, but for now instead of the $2,500 in taxes the property owner paid last year, it goes back on the rolls. Had it not been exempt for 2013, it would have paid around $134,000 to the Bedford school district, $27,000 to the Town of New Castle and $35,000 to Westchester County.
Neighbors of the property have for years claimed that it was not being used for its exempt-status religious purpose. In February 2014 NCNOW filed a request for Town Assessor Phil Platz to investigate the claim, especially since the property had been for sale since late 2011. [See 98-acre Legionaries of Christ property on the Armonk Road is up for sale, NCNOW.org, 10/7/11.]
On March 24, 2014, Platz wrote to the property owner pointing out that “the Property is reportedly the subject of an option to purchase, and the nature and frequency of its continued use for tax exempt purposes is unclear.” Platz went on to request “an itemization as to the tax exempt activities undertaken in the past year on the property” as well as documentation that relates to or evidences Legion of Christ, Inc.‘s use of the property and the structures thereon.”
On May 14, Rev. Jose Felix Ortega, Secretary to the Legion of Christ, Inc., responded, “The renewal application tendered by the Legion on Febuary 24, 2014 disclosed that the property is being offered for sale but continues to be used for charitable purposes. Regrettably, we do not have an itemized list of use of the Property for the year but will certainly maintain one moving forward.”
Based on Ortega’s response, Platz removed the exempt status. The organization has the right to appeal the decision.
Below is the Assessor’s current computer record of the property:
“Neighbors of the property have for years claimed that it was not being used for its exempt-status religious purpose.”
Residents have been complaining about this for YEARS, and previous town boards and their administrations did nothing. Makes one wonder.
Why does it require a Newcastlenow expose to get the town to protect the fiscal interests of the town and its taxpayers?
Funny, not, that Jill Shapiro or our previous town administrator did not get this done. It fell to Editor Yeres to make public that it could be done and that is why it was done.
This is a very strong argument for an open search for the best possible person to fill the town administrator’s position. How could anyone argue otherwise?
No search was conducted when the previous town administrator was promoted.
Residents have complained for YEARS. That was way before the last election. Where was the previous administrations all those years?
While Christine certainly played a critical role, another resident also deserves credit – Dr. Sharon Greene.
This is a great example of what citizens can accomplish when they don’t hide behind anonymity; and insist on holding our elected officials accountable. Thanks to both.
Dr. Sharon Greene wrote a letter to the town on this matter. She lives over there and knows the ins and outs of that property.
Why did it take so long? Have the various assessors expressed that they were under political pressure?
It’s the assessors job. Why don’t you blame her for the fact that it is raining today.
Yes, we can blame Shapiro,
When Dr. Greene first asked Rob about this at the League meeting, He dismissed her with
“I see your strategy ” Later and thank god Christine asked Rob again about the tax status, he turned Christine’s question over to Jill, who gave a bumbling answer that clearly showed that she did not know what she was talking about. She could have said that she did not know, but instead she tried to support, cover Rob. Take a look at the video for yourself
Maybe you do not know that Jill was Receiver of Taxes. She certainly should have known.
Wasn’t that one of Rob’s reasons for installing her, she knows so much about the town ?
So you are blaming Jill Shapiro for the inaction of past administrators and past town boards.
Now there’s some rational thought.
Learn to read.
At the master planning sessions, I was very upset to hear members of the community bashing Churches (i.e. What don’t you like?). But doing this to this property just does not past the smell test. Therefore, I believe this is the town trying to make preparations for the loss of property values that will be impacting the downtown area of Chappaqua over the next 10 to 15 years as a reacttion to the oncoming approvals of CC. For or against this decision by Town Hall, we have to pay very close attention to how Town Hall may or may not be favoring the base property tax at CC. How this gets done, I have no idea.