50 Properties in Kiryas Yoel to Lose Tax Exempt Status


kiryas-yoelA shopping center, a five-story office building and dozens of other Kiryas Yoel properties could lose at least part of their property-tax exemptions as the result of a crackdown by the Town of Monroe assessor’s office.¬†Fifty parcels with a combined market value of nearly $52 million have been tentatively placed on the town tax rolls and will get their first bills for town and county taxes come January unless they prove their exemptions were warranted.The properties range widely in value and include homes that had exemptions as shuls; apartment complexes for low-income tenants; and the village’s two commercial centers: its bustling shopping strip on Forest Road and the 80,000-square-foot Business Center that opened on Bakertown Road in 2008.

The strip mall has never been taxed since it opened in 1987 because its owners were deemed exempt. The village government owned the property for years until transferring it in 2004 to a real estate arm of the United Talmudical Academy, the chinuch system for thousands of children in the Satmar community.

But under state law, only the parts of the shopping center used for an exempt purpose – such as municipal offices – will be tax-free. Dorothy Post, the town’s longtime assessor, was reconsidering exemptions for that and other Kiryas Yoel parcels until her retirement in March, when the job fell to her successor, Stephen Ruelke.

Ruelke made 50 village properties fully taxable on the May 1 tentative tax rolls, but he has said that he may recommend restoring part or all of the exemption on certain properties before July 1 after getting more information about how they are used. He said he didn’t have time to do such investigations before the tentative tax roll was due.

The United Talmudical Academy offshoots that own the shopping center and office building have filed grievances with the town Board of Assessment Review, saying that both properties should be fully exempt because the owners are nonprofit organizations. They claim the buildings are being used for community service.

Some property owners may have a strong case to restore their exemptions. One is the Rav Aharon Teitelbaum of Satmar, whose Sanz Court home – owned by Congregation Avnei Zedek – was placed on the tax rolls. Another is the Kiryas Yoel Municipal Local Development Corp., owner of a nursery school on Kosnitz Road.

{Record Online/Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter}