Property taxes

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Some of upstate New York's mayors are putting their brains together to deal with looming fiscal nightmares.

Cameron Group, LLC.

Those for it say it has little resemblance to Destiny USA other than the length of the tax break. But those in opposition disagree strongly.

Months of debate about Syracuse's development strategy and negotiations culminated Monday with the city granting just its second-ever 30-year property tax exemption.

The recipient is a developer who will build a mixed-use off-campus bookstore and fitness center for Syracuse University. The property in question is a long sliver of land currently owned by the nonprofit university, so it's not taxable.

Syracuse poised to award second 30-year tax break

Jul 9, 2012
Cameron Group, LLC

Syracuse appears ready to give out its second 30-year tax exemption after months of debate. The decision comes at a time when many in the city are skeptical of public backing for development.

The Common Council has called a special session for later today to vote on the property tax exemption for a developer planning to build a Syracuse University bookstore and fitness center in the University Hill neighborhood.

The vote was supposed to happen back in March, but it was pulled at the last minute because it faced certain defeat. In the months since, councilors have negotiated with the developer and university.

On Friday, councilors confirmed the deal will finally proceed because it has gained the needed five votes.

Think your property taxes are too high?

Today's the day you can try to get those taxes down, by way of lowering what the town thinks your home is worth.

voxphoto / via Flickr

The city of Syracuse has a new tool it hopes will reduce the number of vacant and tax-delinquent properties.

This week the state gave the OK for Syracuse and Onondaga County to create one of the first five "land banks" in New York State.

The new agency has plenty to work on.

There are 3,300 delinquent plots in the city of Syracuse alone.

Satellite imagery / Google

Four major hospitals; three large colleges; dozens of churches, charities and government buildings.

They drive Syracuse's economic and cultural activity. But leave the city's bank account hurting for revenue.

In all, Syracuse nonprofits and other tax-exempt properties make up 56 percent of the city. That's land City Hall can't collect taxes on.

Add to that properties with temporary tax breaks given to encourage development.

Add to that more than 3,000 smaller plots throughout the city that are vacant or delinquent on their taxes.

"This is characteristic of the type of problem the city has in collecting property taxes," says Common Councilor Khalid Bey, chair of the council's economic development committee.

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