Drug rehab site would add to strain on Village of Albion from so many tax-exempt properties

Posted 2 March 2023 at 4:57 pm


The Village of Albion Board is right to oppose the conversion of the Clover Hill Adult Residence building into a drug rehabilitation facility. The mission of the ‘Gates to Recovery’ organization might be noble, but this project would very likely reduce the tax base in the Village of Albion, increase the demand for village services, and serve and employ people who predominately won’t be residents of the village. The village cannot afford to be the place to locate all the tax-exempt organizations that the wider Orleans community might need.

The Clover Hill building has a tax assessment of $619,600. If that becomes tax exempt, then village taxes for all other village taxpayers will go up. And, like it or not, neighboring properties will probably become less desirable to future buyers with a rehab facility close by in the neighborhood. So, the tax base of the village will decrease even more. It may be that people at the facility would go into the village and buy things like food and gasoline. But Orleans County has frozen the amount of sales tax that it has shared for the past 20 years, so the village would likely not see one extra cent of sales tax revenue.

With up to 135 people living and working in the building we can expect extra police, fire, and ambulance calls. Again, it would be the people of Albion who would pick up that cost. We saw last year that the leaders of the county and towns paid for ambulance service by placing an unfair burden on Albion. Costs were allocated based upon where ambulances were sent, not equally throughout the county or by where the patient normally resides. Albion will very likely be on the hook again.

As to the building, it is located very close to neighboring properties with little buffer space. It was built to serve quiet, older people who had limited mobility – neighbors that you might never hear a peep from. To spend $1 million to expand and/or renovate the existing building to serve a different purpose might very well not be fair to neighboring properties.

If there is a need for long-term drug rehabilitation services in Orleans County, then a site should be selected or built in another town. It is time to spread the locations of tax-exempt organizations throughout the county and to stop pushing most of them into villages.

Over the decades the politicians of Orleans County have purposefully made the villages very highly taxed and there is no sign that they plan to change course. Village residents need to push back where we can or pretty soon no one will be able to afford to live in an Orleans County village.

Jason Dragon

Village of Albion