Clarkstown says Westchester church avoided paying taxes on house

Posted: Updated:
NEW CITY -

Clarkstown says a Westchester church was avoiding paying its fair share of property taxes.

CSI Congregation of Hudson Valley is based in Westchester but owns a house on West Burda Place in New City. The church received a religious tax exemption on the home, which saved it around $8,000 a year.

The pastor used to live in the house, but officials say the church's pastor moved out last year. Clarkstown Deputy Town Attorney Leslie Kahn found the home listed for rent.

"They do need to file the property with the Building Department and get a permit to rent the property," she says.

Kahn says the owners were also still getting the religious tax exemption. She says they made representations falsely on their paperwork that the person living there was a caretaker for the church.

Code enforcement officers found out the new tenants had no affiliation and were paying the church rent, which officials say is a violation.

The Board of Assessors voted to remove the exemption. The church now owes close to $16,000 in back taxes.

"We're in the process of being refunded. Paperwork has been picked up by the congregation and hopefully everyone will be whole soon,” says James Molinaro, Clarkstown assessor.

News 12 reached out to the church. It said it didn’t realize it had done anything wrong and is now paying back the money owed.

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