Mount Kisco, New Castle Must Pay Country Club Tax Cert Settlement

A recent settlement in a tax certiorari filed by the Mount Kisco Country Club will cost two municipalities extra money but avoids potentially costlier litigation.

Two weeks ago, the Mount Kisco Village Board approved a settlement with the 166-acre golf course that will see the village payout $88,435 to the club. Another $118,611 will come from the schools and $25,814 from Westchester County.

The Town of New Castle had scheduled a vote on its portion of the settlement for last Thursday night’s meeting but that session was postponed.

The country club had challenged the village’s assessments from 2017 through 2021.

According to an outline of the settlement from Village Assessor Roger Miller, 104 acres and 13 of the 18 holes are located in Mount Kisco but the clubhouse and all amenities are in New Castle. The country club’s appraiser argued the property is worth $6.5 million.

Under the settlement, the property was worth $8 million for 2017 and 2018 and $8.15 million for 2019 through 2021.

In the settlement, Mount Kisco was able to increase its allocation of the total value of the property from 30 to 35 percent for the years in question and 40 percent in the future.

“The assessment for country clubs has changed and it’s become very advantageous to the country club themselves,” said Mount Kisco Village Attorney Whitney Singleton. “They’re not taxed at their highest and best use; they’re taxed basically on a contract that assumes people are just going to come, pay to play on the golf course and leave, and really that’s not a reality for golf clubs. That’s not why people go there.”

The settlement comes on the heels of last year’s court decision in favor of Sleepy Hollow Country Club against the towns of Ossining and Mount Pleasant. In that case, the appraiser for the Sleepy Hollow Country Club was the same one used by the Mount Kisco Country Club. That action reduced the value of Sleepy Hollow Country Club to $11.6 million to $12 million.

The extent to which the Town of New Castle will be affected has not been made public. Assessor Josh Herman said the Town Board must first formally accept the settlement, then the details will be released.

Miller said for Mount Kisco, which negotiated in tandem with New Castle, it is preferable to avoid lengthy litigation.

“In our opinion this settlement is reasonable and favorable to a potential trial, given market conditions, the specifics of this property, and the methodology required for golf course valuation for tax purposes,” Miller wrote to the Village Board. “It is additionally favorable given the increased allocation we were able to obtain for Mount Kisco.

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