Schenectady County

Town agrees to deal on value of store

Town Board members have ratified a tax settlement with the Wal-Mart Real Estate Business Trust that

Town Board members have ratified a tax settlement with the Wal-Mart Real Estate Business Trust that will fix the assessment of the company’s Altamont Avenue property at $7.7 million through 2010.

Board members on Wednesday unanimously supported the agreement, which will drop the property’s assessed value by $2.8 million for three years starting in 2008. The company’s 2007 assessment of $10.5 million will remain the same and it will not get a refund, according to the settlement.

The agreement also provides for a 22.6 percent reduction in the property’s value in 2006. The reduction will afford the company a $15,000 refund from the town, but without interest.

Rotterdam Supervisor Steve Tommasone lauded the agreement as a way for the town to avoid litigation over Wal-Mart’s assessment for the next three years. He said the agreement offers the least expensive way for the town to resolve the company’s lawsuit, which was scheduled to go to trial in state Supreme Court in August.

“I think it was well negotiated on behalf of the town,” he said of the agreement Thursday. “They came to a good agreement to give to the board.”

It was unclear Thursday whether the Mohonasen Central School District has accepted the agreement or will need to refund money to Wal-Mart. Attempts to contact school officials Thursday afternoon were unsuccessful.

Calls placed to a company spokeswoman for Wal-Mart were not returned Thursday.

Wal-Mart’s appraiser had valued the land at $7.5 million during both 2006 and 2007. In contrast, appraisers for Mohonasen and the town assessed the parcel at $8.9 million in 2006 and $9.3 million in 2007.

“It’s generally speaking a win for the town,” Tommasone said. “It gives us a prospective arrangement so that we know for the next few years we’re not going to be back at the table with this company.”

The settlement is the third resolution the town has reached this year regarding its large commercial property owners. Last month, the town and Schalmont Central School District officials approved a settlement with Macerich Co., parent company of the Rotterdam Square mall, which gave the property a $7.5 million assessment reduction but not a refund from either entity.

In February, the Rotterdam Industrial Development Agency helped broker a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement with the SI Group that ended four years of litigation with the town over its property assessments. The town, county and school district will waive an estimated $1.5 million in tax revenue through the 15-year duration of the agreement.

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