City supervisors would seek benefits if county proceeds to purchase former college building

NORWICH – The two Chenango County supervisors who represent the City of Norwich are against any more property coming off the tax rolls.

An overwhelming 35 percent of city property is already held by wholly exempt not for profit or government entities, they say.

So, if it comes down to a vote, both would oppose purchasing the former Morrisville State College building downtown unless Chenango County can come up with some sort of benefit package or payment in lieu of taxes agreement first.

“I would have to have that answered before I voted for this,” said Wards 4-6 Supervisor Robert M. Jeffrey, R-City of Norwich.

Wards 1-3 Supervisor James J. McNeil, D-City of Norwich, said providing highway, police and professional fire protection for free to tax exempt entities has become a hardship for taxpayers. “I’m not selecting any one group ... many are not for profit organizations which contribute a great deal to the community ... But, because we have no more room for growth as far as real property taxable income, the more property that’s taken off, the greater the burden,” he said.

The city stands to lose about $5,868 per year if Chenango County decides to buy the 36,000-square-foot, three-story structure and take it off the rolls. The county, itself, would be out on $4,754; and the school district, $9,085 for a total of about $20,000 per year in lost tax revenue.

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