MALTA – Town officials avoided potential litigation this week by approving a legal settlement with the New Jersey-based company that owns the Steeplechase apartment complex, which recently contested the town’s tax assessment of the property.
According to Malta Assessor Rae-Lyn Dussault, the apartment community at 2767 Route 9 was previously valued at $30 million.
Dussault explained that representatives of The Silverman Group in New Jersey had requested a reduction in Malta’s tax assessment to $24 million.
“We kind of met them in the middle,” she said, noting how the new agreement values the property at $27.5 million.
“The values that we put on commercial properties, to begin with, are market,” Dussault said.
In October 2014, The Silverman Group purchased the property for $35.5 million, according to a report in the Albany Business Review.
Neither local company officials nor others in New Jersey could be reached for comment. The Silverman Group website indicates that Steeplechase is run by a division named C and R Property Management.
Dussault said it was “logical” to reduce the tax assessment for a number of reasons, including the fact that the community is more than 10 years old and has experienced some recent vacancy issues.
A company description online indicates that there are more than 230 apartment units in Steeplechase, ranging in size from 830 to 1,300 square feet of living space.
On Monday, the Malta Town Board voted 3-2 in favor of approving a “stipulation of settlement” agreement that was reached between the attorneys representing each respective party in the tax dispute.
Councilman John Hartzell and Supervisor Vincent DeLucia both were opposed.
DeLucia called the previous $30 million assessment “fair and reasonable.” But he added that, as a general rule, he respects the town board’s democratic process.
“I’m all for settling when we can,” DeLucia said.
Daniel Zazzali, the attorney at the New Jersey law firm McCarter and English who represented The Silverman Group in the case, did not return a request for comment.
Multiple calls to Cathy Drobny at the Saratoga Springs law firm E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy, which represented the Town of Malta, also were not returned.
Dussault added that New York State Supreme Court Judge Ann Crowell is expected to review and approve the settlement agreement pertaining to Steeplechase.