Friday, January 31, 2014

Herkimer Nonprofit

  • Charitable nonprofits:

  •  A little take, a lot of give

  • There's no dispute that nonprofit organizations
  •  help the community through programs, grants
  •  and job creation as employers. But when it
  •  comes to tax-exempt properties, charitable 
  • nonprofits often become the scapegoat.

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  • Amanda Fries

    Keshia Clukey 

    Posted Jan. 26, 2014 @ 3:52 pm 

    Last week, on the second floor of 420 E. German St., Billy Gifford worked in a small group preparing boxes of tissues to be packaged.
    Gifford is one of about 600 people that benefit daily from Herkimer ARC programs, not to mention the 400 people employed with the nonprofit.
    "They provide me safety and they give me work to do," said the 21-year-old West Winfield resident. "They teach me new stuff every day, and I learn a lot."
    There's no dispute that nonprofit organizations help the community through programs, grants and job creation as employers. But when it comes to tax-exempt properties, charitable nonprofits often become the scapegoat.
    The ARC owns 35 tax-exempt buildings in Herkimer County, ranging from housing facilities to manufacturing operations. The East German Street building is partially exempt because it houses other businesses.
    "We're providing work opportunities for people in an integrated setting for people with and without disabilities," ARC President and CEO Kevin Crosley.
    And without the tax exemption, the organization would be "in a very serious financial crisis, Crosley said.
    "The importance of the tax status is such that it keeps our business alive and allows us to provide services," Crosley said. "Not-for-profit is a tax status, it's not a business strategy."
    Charitable nonprofits raise property values, increase the quality of life and generally take up 5 to 10 percent of a tax base, a relatively small amount, said David Thompson, National Council of Nonprofits vice president of public policy.
    They also often are contracted to provide services the government cannot.
    "Our strong view is that cities do better because of nonprofits, not despite nonprofits," Thompson said. "In many ways we reduce the burden on the government."
    And as financial times get difficult, the need for charitable nonprofits rises, and they become vital in helping the community make ends meet.
    The Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties employs 10 people and in 2013 the nonprofit distributed 494 grants totaling nearly $4 million to the community in the areas such as economic development, enhancing education and improving quality of life.
    Set to move to a new location, the Community Foundation soon will be operating out of 2608 Genesee Street, a building assessed at $350,000, according to the city Assessor's Office. It will be exempt.
    "It's a very narrow mantra that nonprofits don't pay taxes, therefore, that's a negative," said Peggy O'Shea, president and CEO of the Community Foundation. "I think that's really missing the point of what nonprofits provide to a community. We see our role as the organization to bring people together to have that civic discourse and dialogue to decide what's best for our community."
    Follow @OD_Clukey and @OD_Fries on Twitter or call the newsroom at 792-5017

  • Read more:

    Utica Nonprofit

  • There are ways to lessen 

  • string of tax-exemptions

  • Tax exemptions can help spur economic growth
  •  through incentives and provide valuable 
  • nonprofit organizations with relief. They also 
  • can be a drain 
  • on the tax base.

    •  5
  •  Zoom
  • Amanda Fries

    Keshia Clukey 

    Posted Jan. 27, 2014 @ 8:00 am 

    ConMed Corp. was fortunate enough to acquire a building several years ago that had a tax incentive.
    "It was one of the many factors that enticed us to relocate production from another facility here," said Luke Pomilio, ConMed vice president and controller of its corporate headquarters on French Road in Utica.
    The payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement helped relieve the costs of improving the building, as well as hiring and training new employees, he said.
    Tax exemptions can help spur economic growth through incentives and provide valuable nonprofit organizations with relief. They also can be a drain on the tax base.
    When a municipality's tax base is reduced from exemptions and agree
    ments such as PILOTs, the burden is put not only on the taxpayers, but on the government and the school districts.
    But there are ways to keep a healthy tax base while growing the community. They include fewer exemptions, charging user fees, compromising on agreements and consolidation of services.
    "We make the assumption that all of these things are good," said Fiscal Policy Institute Executive Director Frederick Floss about giving tax exemptions. "We should not agree to as many of them without asking, 'What is the benefit? What is the cost?'"
    Fewer exemptions, more fees
    The majority of exemptions are created by the state legislature, though some can be enacted by local law, said Anthony Carvelli, Oneida County commissioner of finance.
    So changes would have to take place at a state level.
    Some nonprofits, such as hospitals or colleges, have for-profit agencies working on their property that should pay a portion of property taxes, said Doug Sauer, chief executive officer for the New York Council of Nonprofits Inc.
    "It's up to the local municipality to make sure the property is being used exclusively for charity … for the purpose of exemption," he said.
    The state Council of Nonprofits is advocating for legislation that if a property is not used within six to seven years for charitable purposes, it would be converted once again to taxable property — eliminating abandoned tax-exempt properties, Sauer said.
    The Herkimer ARC already does this.
    At its 420 E. German St. location in Herkimer, portions of the building are taxable because the Herkimer County Chamber of Commerce and an attorney are located there.
    Another option is charging user fees, something several communities have done — for example, charging fees for public safety services, Sauer said.
    The idea of a service fee on nonprofits to lessen the property taxpayers' burden is not new – Utica has discussed it several times in the past, but a proposal never has passed the Common Council because the city cannot single out nonprofits.

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    Nonprofit Revitalization Act Webinars Announced

    Complying with the Nonprofit Revitalization Act: 
    A Practical Webinar Series for New York Nonprofits
    Presented by David Watson, Esq, Sr. VP of Legal Accountability Services, NYCON and Michael West, Esq., Legal Advisor, NYCON 
    Various Dates: February 2014 - June 2014 

    The Nonprofit Revitalization Act is a landmark change in the Not-for-Profit Corporation Law of the State of New York that will usher in a modern era for the operation and governance of nonprofit corporations starting on July 1, 2014.

    Here at the New York Council of Nonprofits, Inc. (NYCON) we eagerly anticipated the updated statutes and have prepared two practical webinars (to be repeated from February through June) designed to help address your immediate needs in complying with the new law. We will cover the updating of your bylaws, governance issues, materials and more. We encourage all Members to take advantage of these free webinars.

    Part 1: New 
     York Nonprofit Revitalization Act Part- Steps To Compliance - An Overview  
    This session will provide you with a comprehensive overview of the Act as well as a plenary Q/A portion. Webinar to be held in February, April & June - and will be updated accordingly if there are any changes to the law.  This session will provide you with a practical set of
    actions to take to amend your bylaws to meet the new standards of the Act.

    DatesFebruary 27thApril 24thJune 26th 
    Cost: FREE for current NYCON Nonprofit Members;
    $79 for Non-Members 
    Wellness Check Up! 
    Part 2: New York Nonprofit Revitalization Act: Implementing Your Compliance Checklist - Whistleblower, Conflict of Interest, Committees & Executive Compensation:
    To be held in March and May, this webinar will be more detailed and will focus on the various topics included in the Act that are new and have implications on compliance and board governance in general and your operations specifically.
    Dates: March 25th and May 20th  
    Cost: FREE for current NYCON Nonprofit Members;
    $79 for Non-Members  
    What You Can Expect:  
    • Participants for "live" webinars on date(s) selected are provided with the opportunity to get specific questions addressed by legal experts quickly.
    • All webinar attendees will have access to a recording of the event and the webinar slides. 
    • All webinar attendees will have access to a comprehensive overview of the Act, compiled by NYCON's expert staff.
    • A recording of the webinar will be made available to NYCON Members for six months.
    Additional Documents, Tools & Phone Assistance Available to Members as follows:    
    • Documents & Templates to assist your organization with the compliance process, produced by the NYCON Legal Department, will be available to members for $79.
    • Documents, Tools & Templates plus additional assistance via phone to help with implementation can be purchased by members for $259 (includes two hours of phone assistance.) Direct technical assistance above and beyond this can be provided to members at our normal legal fee-for-service rate.
    Please contact us with any questions you have about the webinars or the Nonprofit Revitalizaton Act.