In March 2014, Jehovah’s Witness Report ran a story about the Hampton Inn purchased in Newburgh, New York State by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. The purpose of this acquisition and other local real estate property purchases is to house volunteers who work at the world HQ. One local resident said at the time of purchase:
“It would help if these towns would stop the tax exempt statuses of these places to give the rest of us a break. We live in Orange Co. and pay quite a bit here too for our school taxes. I can see giving a ‘religious’ place an acre or two for their church/temple & parsonage, but the acreage they have is unreal.”
It seems that Newburgh Town Council is also concerned about lost revenue and so the Council is introducing changes that may make the purchase of local motels and hotels less attractive to the tax exempt Watchtower Society. The Council is attempting to introduce a definition that will require such properties as the Hampton Inn
“to be open only to the public on a fee basis for transient stays of 30 days or less.”
The Recordonline.com reports that the original purchase price for the Hampton Inn “was not disclosed, but county records listed the 5-acre hotel property’s market value at $6,438,800 for 2014.”
The words of the local town Supervisor may indicate that the tax-exempt Watchtower Society is not welcome to buy up more property in Newburgh because of the strain this is putting on the town coffers.
“It’s tough to run a town when you’re taking prime real estate off the tax rolls,” Supervisor Gil Piaquadio said.
“To run this town, you do need income,” Piaquadio said. “You can’t just keep raising taxes.”
The proposed zoning change is being reviewed by the county officials. If it gets approval it will not affect existing hotel and motel properties, the Recordonline.com reports.
Town of Newburgh Council Link
Recordonline.com – Newburgh seeks new hotel zoning definitions Link