GATEWAY PERSPECTIVES: Constant Vigilance

Richard Haggerty | April 2016

Haggerty-Richard_squareUsually I cover one topic for my monthly Article in Real Estate In-Depth but this month I’m going to break that rule and cover several topics.

In several of the Harry Potter books there is a character named Mad Eye Moody who preaches “constant vigilance” against the dark arts. I’m going to steal his mantra and encourage all of you to keep your eyes and ears open to any discussions concerning proposed transfer taxes at the local level.

A couple of years ago we learned from an HGAR member that the City Council of New Rochelle was considering a possible 1% transfer tax. We immediately contacted the Mayor and the individual members of the City Council and voiced our concerns about the negative impact such a tax would have on real estate values. Because we were alerted to the transfer tax discussions very early and had the opportunity to express our concerns, the Mayor and members of the Council were very receptive considering those concerns and the proposal never advanced.

Just a week or so ago we were alerted by past HGAR President Katheryn DeClerck that a City Councilman was addressing her office meeting and advising that the City of Port Jervis was considering a transfer tax.  She immediately e-mailed HGAR to alert us. Our Government Affairs Director, Phil Weiden, followed up immediately and learned that the town had considered such a proposal but the measure was defeated the night before. We dodged a bullet on that one but it illustrates just how important “constant vigilance” is in our crusade against burdensome transfer taxes.

My next topic concerns the big move. We officially moved our headquarters in White Plains from 60 South Broadway to One Maple Ave. on April 1st. I want to give our Director of MLS, Gary Connolly, a special shout out for coordinating many of the details of the transfer.  Overall the move went very smoothly and while we are still unpacking boxes, we are definitely open for business. Just yesterday we conducted a HGAR Executive Committee meeting, a Board of Directors meeting, a HGAR Finance Committee Meeting, a HGMLS Finance Committee meeting, a Foundation Program Committee Meeting, a Foundation Fundraising Committee meeting, and a Legislative Steering Committee Meeting. Talk about a baptism by fire! The new space looks incredible and we plan on a big open house to show off the new digs sometime in the early summer.

My last topic concerns the two major fundraising endeavors of the Association—RPAC (the Realtors Political Action Committee) and the Hudson Gateway Realtor Foundation.

RPAC Chair Laurie DiFrancesco and her team have already planned a full calendar of RPAC events, including a Yankees day game on June 30th. If it’s anything like last year’s event at Yankee Stadium, it should be a blast. I hope you will consider joining us.

The Fundraising Committee for the Realtor Foundation, chaired by Bonnie Koff, started its efforts for the year with a home run. Bonnie and her team had a pub-crawl event at newly opened Pax Romana in White Plains and the place was beyond packed. With the help of guest bartenders and a great turnout, Bonnie’s committee raised more than $7,000 from this kickoff event.

Many thanks to Laurie and Bonnie and their respective committees for all of the work they do. We hope that you support their efforts as the year progresses.

Richard Haggerty
HGAR CEO