Palisades Center Enters Court Battle Over Property Tax Assessments

A pivotal trial between the Palisades Center, owned by Eklecco, and the Town of Clarkstown is slated to start on Tuesday, March 19th, at the Rockland County Supreme Court under Judge Christie D’Alessio. The heart of the matter is a dispute over property tax assessments spanning four years, with the mall contending it has been overcharged due to excessively high valuations.

The case has significant financial implications for both the Town of Clarkstown and the Clarkstown Central School District, reminiscent of the financial strain faced by the North Rockland School District after its tax certiorari battle with Mirant Energy.

Eklecco is challenging the legality and accuracy of its property tax assessments over the past four years, arguing that the assessed values do not reflect the true market conditions, particularly in light of the challenges faced by the retail sector, including the rise of online shopping, store closures, and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The trial will examine the consolidation of tax certiorari cases from 2020 through 2023, focusing on the disagreement over the fair market value of the mall’s properties. Despite the retail industry’s hurdles, the Palisades Center remains a significant taxpayer in Clarkstown, contributing over $22 million annually in property taxes and assessments.

As the parties head to court, they have reached preliminary agreements on a small fraction of the disputed parcels but remain divided over the valuation of the majority of the property. The trial is expected to hinge on expert appraisals and methodologies for determining fair market value, with both sides presenting evidence based on financial analyses, comparable properties, and other factors influencing valuation.

The outcome of this case could have broad repercussions, affecting not only the immediate parties but also setting a precedent for similar disputes across the state. The financial stakes are high, with potential refunds, interest payments, and future revenue losses hanging in the balance.

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