GE grieves Schenectady and Rotterdam assessments

General Electric filed grievances with Schenectady and Rotterdam over assessments about the taxable assets of their main plant on River Road. In both cases, GE expressed the value of their taxable assets should only be 10 percent of the current assessment.

The company's 316-acre property in Schenectady carries a $100 million assessment and the 204 and a half acres in Rotterdam garners a $141.5 million assessment. GE claims their Schenectady portion of property is worth $10 million and their Rotterdam property is worth $14.8 million.

$10 million is a starting point for our standard process of filing grievances, said Christine Horne, GE spokeswoman, speaking on Schenectady. "Soliciting professional appraisals would be the next step, if necessary to further refine the number."

Rotterdam Assessor Craig Surprise said their assessment is just a continuation of a previous one made several years ago. GE has also filed grievances regularly with Rotterdam for the past three assessments.

An agreement between GE and Metroplex Development Authority to hold the property value of the company's acreage in Schenectady at $65 million has recently been completed. Although, since the March 1 assessment deadline was missed, GE is still battling the current year assessment.

The required State Environmental Quality Review conducted by the state Department of Environmental Conservation held up the agreement. Starting next year the agreed price of $65 million will become effective for 9 years, said Metroplex Chairman Ray Gillen.

Work leading up to the SEQRA filing process is what Horne said accounted for the most of the delays.

"The SEQRA process itself didn't take very long," said Horne.

Building 66 on GE's property is going to be converted to a $100 million sodium-storage battery plant. The project is estimated to bring 350 jobs at the plant and Schenectady County Community College will begin to offer an academic program next fall semester tailored for these positions.

"We could've built the plant anywhere in the world," said Horne. "The decision to locate in Schenectady represents our commitment to this community and the future of manufacturing here.

GE could get all or a limited amount of the money paid in taxes back if the lawsuit is won. This could take a chunk out of local property taxes.""

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