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County facing $250,000 loss from mortgage tax

Sarah Trafton/Columbia-Greene Media The Greene County Legislature passed its annual mortgage tax resolution Jan. 16. A bill authorizing the county to collect the mortgage tax failed to pass the state Assembly in December, potentially setting the county back $250,000.
January 20, 2019 10:15 pm

CATSKILL — Greene County is anticipating a $250,000 loss in revenue from mortgage taxes due to a bill renewal getting delayed in the state Assembly in December.

Greene, Essex, Cattaraugus and Warren counties all needed the bills that authorized each of the municipalities to collect the mortgage tax to be renewed by both the Senate and the Assembly, because the bills expired Dec. 1.

“Last year we [the Senate] passed the home rule request from the county to extend the bill,” state Sen. George Amedore Jr., R-46, said Friday.

The issue came about when Greene County’s bill, and the bills for the other three counties, went before the Assembly, he said.

“Unfortunately, the speaker for the last session tied this bill and three similar bills to a New York City issue that had to do with authorization of speed cameras,” Amedore said. “Because that issue wasn’t resolved, upstate counties missed out on the passage of these bills. It just goes to show the ugliness of politics and the influence of New York City and its control of aspects of upstate life as it pertains to politics and public policy.”

“Politicking is why that bill was held at the end of last session, pure and simple,” Assemblyman Chris Tague, R-102, said Friday. “This is just another example of politics being put before the people in Albany. The bill got held because of something totally unrelated to the content within it.”

The county usually sees an annual revenue of $1 million by collecting the mortgage tax, Greene County Administrator Shaun Groden said Jan. 16.

“Fifty cents for every $1,000 of a mortgage gets turned over to the county,” he said. “But it is not authorized if the bill is not renewed.”

Groden estimated the bill would not get renewed until two months into the new year, he said.

Because the county is losing that revenue for three months total, and three months is a quarter of a year, Groden projected the county would lose a quarter million dollars in the budget.

“I reduced the revenue from the mortgage take to $750,000,” Groden said.

The county legislature passed its annual mortgage tax resolution Jan. 16, a copy of which was sent to Albany, Amedore said.

“We will pass the bill in a quick fashion in both houses,” Amedore said. “It could be as early as next week. We want to get it passed as early as possible and not wait and keep losing out potential revenue.”

Tague agrees the end is in sight for the dilemma.

“We’re working with Greene County to move forward and I am hopeful that the bill will come to the floor within the next two weeks, so some relief will be forthcoming,” Tague said. “I am greatly disappointed that wheeling and dealing prevented the renewal from coming through, but we’re working on a solution.”

But, the Green County Legislature is chomping at the bit to spend $90M of OUR money on a super jail bond including interest. So where is all this extra money coming from? The State Senate is not Republican. We are in a bad place being represented by two Republicans. We would have at least covered out chips with O'Connor. Too bad. We lose. The incentives for helping Greene County GOP for the Governor and the State Senate just aren't there anymore. Tague and Lopez can whine about it, but the reasons are self evident. One thing is sure, we won't be seeing any extras coming our way and they will instead try to pretend that keeping what we were already supposed to get is a 'win.' It isn't.