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Does Town of Sweden’s Business Exemption Rip Off Tax Payers?

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Last year the Town of Sweden granted $577 million worth of property tax exemptions to 959 different properties.

That $567,841,457.00 worth of property tax exemptions was divided into of 35 different categories, each with its own code. (See the list below).

For almost all of these tax exemption categories, the town has virtually no choice but to issue the tax exemption. Obviously, the town can’t tax government properties, and the town can’t tax religious institutions.

But when the town did have control over who got a Code 47610 Business Exemption and who did not, they used that power in some very strange ways.

The town also has no choice about the code 18020 COMIDA tax exemptions. That exemption is granted by the Monroe County Industrial Development Agency and the town has to live with it.

Last year there were three COMIDA tax exemptions in Sweden: two for the professional buildings that house doctor’s and dentist’s offices on West Avenue and Fourth Section Road.

The third COMIDA exemption is for the Hampton Inn at 4873 Lake Road. That property is assessed at $ 3,476,000 but because of the COMIDA designation the town collects no tax revenue from that property.

The town also can’t discriminate when it issues an exemption. For example, the town can’t issue a 41930 Disabled Low Income exemption to someone who was disabled by a heart attack and then deny a 41930 exemption to someone who was disabled by a stroke.

For the most part, the town’s hands are tied, with one exception: Code # 47610/47611, Business Exemption.

The town has almost total control over who gets and who doesn’t get the Business Exemption.

The rules for the Business Exemption are spelled out in the New York State Real Property Law, Section 485-b.

“State law allows the exemption to be granted to facilities used primarily for the buying, selling, storing, or development of goods or services, the manufacture or assembly of goods, or the processing of raw materials... commercial and industrial facilities that are constructed, altered, installed or improved… at a cost exceeding $10,000 (or some higher minimum chosen by the taxing unit) are partially exempt from taxation.”

NYS law allows the town to grant the Business exemption, it does not mandate that they do so.

Last year, the Town of Sweden granted $6,417,530 worth of Business Exemptions to six properties: Lowe’s, Tim Horton's, Classy Chassy Car Wash, Abbott’s frozen Custard, the Sodoma MK gas station, and Wal-Mart.

But the Sweden Town Council does not want to grant a 421m tax exemption for 60 Clinton Street in Brockport.

The NYS Real Property Law 421-m exemption is intended to combat blight and to save historical buildings that have fallen into disrepair.

Residents of the Town of Sweden should ask themselves; why is it the Town Council so free to grant tax exemptions under NYS Real Property Law Section 485-b, and so hesitant to grant a tax exemptions under NYS Real Property Law 421-m?

The next town Council Meeting is this Tuesday February 11, 2014 at 7 PM in the West Conference Room of the Town Hall located at 18 State Street in Brockport.

Town residents are encouraged to show up to voice their opinion about granting the 421-m tax exemption for the historic property at 60 Clinton Street.

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2013 Town of Sweden Exemption Summary

Code……………Description
12100……………NYS Owned
13100……………County Owned
13500……………Town Owned
13650/13740…….Village Owned
13730……………Village Park
13800……………School
13870……………Special District
13890……………Public Authority
14110……………USA Spec
18020……………Comida
21100/25110…….Religious
21600……………Parsonages
25120……………Non-public Education
25130……………Charity
25300……………Comm Ser (Community Service)
25400……………Fraternal
25500……………Non-Profit Med/Den/Hosp
26250……………Historical Society
27350……………Cemetery
28110……………Handicap House
28120……………LTD Profit
41001/41123…….Veterans
41133……………Combat Veterans
41143……………Disabled Veterans
41141/41171…….Cold War Veterans
41399……………Paraplegic Veterans
41400……………Clergy
41700……………Agricultural Building
41720……………Agricultural District
41730……………Agricultural Individual
41800/41801…….Aged
41930……………Disabled Low Income
47200……………Railroad
47610/47611…….Business Exemption
5000……………..Wholly Exempt

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