Bill Text: NY S01891 | 2021-2022 | General Assembly | Introduced

Bill Title: Provides for a partial real property tax exemption for the water filtration plant for the City of Newburgh, Orange County, New York.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2021-01-16 - REFERRED TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT [S01891 Detail]

Download: New_York-2021-S01891-Introduced.html

                STATE OF NEW YORK


                               2021-2022 Regular Sessions

                    IN SENATE

                                    January 16, 2021

        Introduced  by  Sen. SKOUFIS -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
          printed to be committed to the Committee on Local Government

        AN ACT providing for a partial real property tax exemption for the water
          filtration plant for the City of Newburgh, Orange County, New York

          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:

     1    Section 1. Legislative intent. The legislature finds as follows:
     2    a. In 2014, potential contaminants, including Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl
     3  Substances  (PFAS)  were detected in Lake Washington, the primary source
     4  for the drinking water supply for the City of Newburgh in Orange County,
     5  New York ("the City"). At the time, the level of  contamination  was  at
     6  170  ppt, below the 400 ppt limit then recommended by the U.S.  Environ-
     7  mental Protection Agency ("EPA"). When the EPA set a new level of 70 ppt
     8  for short-term exposure in May 2016, the City manager declared an  emer-
     9  gency.
    10    b.  The  source  of  contamination  was  determined  to  be  PFOS- and
    11  PFAS-containing firefighting foam used at  Stewart  Air  National  Guard
    12  Base  for  training and emergency purposes.  In August 2016, Stewart Air
    13  National Guard Base was designated as a state Superfund site to hold the
    14  U.S. Department of Defense responsible for full site clean-up.
    15    c. New York State stepped in to assist with and fund the City's  water
    16  supply  hookup  to  Brown's Pond and then to the Catskill Aqueduct for a
    17  longer term, temporary water source. The State also constructed a granu-
    18  lar activated carbon treatment facility ("GAC  system")  at  the  City's
    19  water filtration plant to remove PFAS from the water in Washington Lake.
    20  The GAC system became operational in 2018.
    21    d.  The  City's water filtration plants and the GAC system are located
    22  outside the municipal boundaries of the City in the  towns  of  Newburgh
    23  and  New  Windsor  in  Orange  County.  Both  the county and the town of
    24  Newburgh have exempted the City's water supply plants from real property
    25  taxation. The City pays real property taxes annually to the town of  New

         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        S. 1891                             2

     1  Windsor, and to the Newburgh Enlarged City School District and the Corn-
     2  wall Central School District.
     3    e. Following the construction of the GAC system, the town of New Wind-
     4  sor  reassessed  the value of the City's water filtration plant in light
     5  of the constructed improvements. The reassessment resulted in a substan-
     6  tial increase in the property tax value and, thus, in taxes.  The  taxes
     7  for   the  Newburgh  Enlarged  City  School  District  alone  rose  from
     8  $49,604.25 during the  2016-2017  tax  assessment  year  to  $303,046.59
     9  during  the  2018-2019  tax  assessment  year,  an  increase  of  nearly
    10  $250,000.00.
    11    f. The City has commenced tax certiorari proceedings  in  the  Supreme
    12  Court  of  the State of New York, County of Orange for the 2017-2018 and
    13  2018-2019  tax  assessment  years  bearing  Orange  County  Index   Nos.
    14  EF005922-2017  and  EF007932-2018.  Due  to  the  City's  tax certiorari
    15  proceedings, the  City  has  undertaken  significant  expense  and  will
    16  continue  to  incur  significant  expense  if  the  tax relief cannot be
    17  obtained by legislative action.
    18    g. But for the PFAS contamination of  the  City's  water  supply,  the
    19  construction  of  the  GAC  system as an improvement to the City's water
    20  filtration plant property would have been unnecessary. The  construction
    21  of  the  GAC  system has resulted in unbudgeted and unforeseen costs and
    22  expenses to the City through no fault of its own.
    23    § 2. a. Notwithstanding the provisions of  section  406  of  the  real
    24  property  tax  law  or  any  other  law, rule or regulation, the City of
    25  Newburgh shall be entitled to a partial  exemption  from  real  property
    26  taxes  imposed  by  the  town of New Windsor, the Newburgh Enlarged City
    27  School District and the Cornwall Central School District. Such exemption
    28  shall be granted to the extent of the increase in the assessment of  the
    29  water  filtration plant property attributable to the construction of the
    30  GAC system.
    31    b. As a condition of such  exemption,  the  City  shall  withdraw  and
    32  discontinue  all  of  its tax certiorari proceedings against the town of
    33  New Windsor.
    34    c. The town of New Windsor, the Newburgh Enlarged City School District
    35  and  the  Cornwall  Central  School  District  shall  make   appropriate
    36  corrections  to the subject rolls, provide for the refund of those taxes
    37  paid and cancel any taxes,  fines,  penalties,  interest  or  tax  liens
    38  remaining unpaid.
    39    § 3. This act shall take effect immediately.