LIBERTY –– Following a dispute between the County and the Town of Liberty after the Care Center at Sunset Lake went on the tax rolls in late 2021, a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) …
LIBERTY –– Following a dispute between the County and the Town of Liberty after the Care Center at Sunset Lake went on the tax rolls in late 2021, a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement was put in place between the Sunset Lake Local Development Corporation (LDC), which owns the property, and the County of Sullivan Industrial Development Agency (IDA).
As the Democrat reported last February, Shawn Griffin of Harris Beach, PLLC, representing the LDC, was given the authority by their board to try to stabilize the taxes, therefore reaching out to the IDA. The PILOT agreement, which is for a term exceeding 20 years, has the LDC paying the IDA $350,000, due this month, with that amount increasing by two percent annually.
“We also knew long term, in order to get Infinite Care to stick with the plan here, get the resident population back up, get the employment back up, work with us on all that and then get the CON [Certificate of Need] in their name so that they can operate the facility, we needed to have this long-term resolution to [the] property taxes,” said Griffin last February.
On Thursday, legislators approved transferring money to the LDC to pay the 2023 PILOT and two special district charges for the Care Center at Sunset Lake, totalling $445,599.39.
Legislative Chairman Rob Doherty noted that while they could have taken the Town of Liberty to court over the taxable status of the Care Center, the Legislature opted not to. While the taxes are reimbursable through Medicaid, some legislators still desire to revisit seeking tax-exempt status for the property.
Several members of the public and District 2 Legislator Nadia Rajsz said that the easy fix would be to turn ownership of the property back over to the County from the LDC, since it wasn’t taxed when it was County-owned.
County Manager Josh Potosek cautioned that taking back the Care Center wouldn’t necessarily make it tax exempt. When it was County-owned, it was also County-run. Now that a consulting agreement is in place with a for-profit entity, an assessor could still deem it taxable.
Minority Leader Ira Steingart asked that the Legislature explore the pros and cons of whether the property should stay with the LDC or if the County should take it back.
Deputy for Highland
Legislators authorized an inter-municipal agreement between the County and the Town of Highland to provide a dedicated law enforcement presence in the Town during “peak weekend hours.”
The Town’s Constabulary has been suspended since April 2022. Highland had been in contact with the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office and New York State Police to provide additional support and road patrol during that time period.
Under the agreement, the County will provide a sheriff’s deputy to patrol the Town of Highland for an average of 32 hours per week, with the Town covering the cost.
According to Town of Highland Deputy Supervisor Kaitlin Haas, the agreement provides the Town with a dedicated, rotating deputy, ultimately extending and enhancing coverage, while saving the Town money.
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