Board considers exemption

GLOVERSVILLE – The Gloversville Enlarged School District Board of Education is expected to vote in January a New York state tax exemption that could lead to more residential space in downtown and commercial areas.

During the school board meeting Tuesday, Joni Dennie, the city’s sole assessor, spoke with the board about the exemption.

The tax exemption, 485-a, establishes a Residential-Commercial Urban Exemption Program to allow the owners of existing commercial buildings to build apartments and receive tax exemptions.

The 12-year exemption is designed to entice property owners to create residential living space in downtown and commercial areas.

In the first eight years, the buildings will be exempt from 100 percent of the taxable amount of improvements for eight years. In the final four years, the tax-exemption rate would decrease by 20 percent each year.

The cost of converting a space into apartments would have to exceed $10,000.

Both the city and Fulton County have approved the tax exemption.

Dennie said if the board were to allow the exemption to go through, it would cover the entire city.

“Although I can’t imagine you are going to have a lot of interest outside the Main Street area, but that would be mainly for commercial areas,” Dennie said.

Dennie said the closest city with this exemption was Utica; most other municipalities with this exemption are in Western New York.

“I think it is because New York state offers a lot of exemptions and people don’t realize what is out there to take advantage of. When one city takes [an exemption], then you have another neighbor take that,” Dennie said.

Dennie said there would be no permanent loss of taxes from the exemption. While the improvements would be exempt or taxed at a lower rate for 12 years, eventually they would be fully taxed.

Vanyo said at this point, he thinks the board is just gathering information.

“It is interesting, because I think everyone wants to find out all the information they can and then they want to see growth in the city, but they also don’t want to do something that could hurt us down the road,” Vanyo said. “We have to look at what is the best decision for everybody.”

The board is expected to revisit the exemption during its meeting in January.