Assemblymember Phil Steck (D-Colonie) announced that Governor Cuomo signed a bill he authored (Ch. 415) into law, which will prevent the foreclosures on a number of Schenectady churches and temples.
Previously, the Legislature passed a measure allowing the city of Schenectady to sell tax liens to private companies between 2004 and 2009 to provide the city with additional revenue. Unintentionally, some of the liens sold between that time period included formerly tax-exempt churches and temples, which only had liens placed on them because their tax-exempt status was mistakenly removed.
Under this new measure signed into law, the tax-exempt status of the nonprofit religious organizations would be retained, canceling the sale of the liens on them and preventing their foreclosure. Some of the organizations affected include: First Unitarian Society of Schenectady; Consecration Temple Church of God in Christ; Calvary Baptist Church; Schenectady Hindi Temple and Community Services; and Mount Olivet Missionary Baptist Church.
“These churches and temples in our community are irreplaceable and allowing them to disappear from our neighborhoods due to a technicality would have been unthinkable,” Assemblymember Steck said. “Now, these religious organizations will be able to keep their tax-exempt status, and will be able to avoid foreclosure.”
"I would like to thank Assemblymember Phil Steck for drafting this corrective legislation and carrying it in the NYS Assembly,” said John Revchovsky, Vice President of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Schenectady. “This legislation is a great relief not only for the Unitarian Universalist Church of Schenectady, but to all the other non-profit organizations that were affected."
According to Assemblymember Steck, the city of Schenectady and Schenectady County are in support of this measure. Additionally, the city has offered to pay the private lien buyer for the face value of the liens, but the offer was turned down.