Schuyler agrees to reduce Wal-Mart assessment
SCHUYLER COUNTY—Schuyler County Administrator Tim O’Hearn reported an agreement had been reached with Wal-Mart for a $1 million property tax assessment decrease, during the Monday, Sept. 9, legislative meeting. O’Hearn explained Wal-Mart was previously assessed at $12.4 million, but the company wanted it reduced to $5.7 million. However, he said in August the finalized assessment was decreased to $11.4 million for the next three years. O’Hearn explained the town of Dix gave the last approval. The request was being reviewed in New York State Supreme Court since August of last year. O’Hearn added Wal-Mart requested a tax reassessment five years ago as well. In other business:
• Legislative Chairman Dennis Fagan reported a rally was held Monday, Sept. 9, in Watkins Glen that attracted some 200 people opposed to the closing of the Monterey Shock Incarceration Correctional Facility. The facility’s scheduled closing is July, 2014. Fagan said the organizers of the rally hope to have more similar events. He also asked people present to sign a petition to keep the facility open. Fagan explained in 2012 shock inmates provided $400,000 worth of services and work in Schuyler County as part of the program. He added the Monterey location provides workers for Steuben, Tompkins, Chemung and Yates Counties as well. Fagan said having to pay for the services covered by the inmates equals a 3.6 percent tax rate increase for the county. “The real savings will be small,” Fagan said. “It doesn’t make an awful lot of sense.”
• The legislature approved the 2012 financial audit. O’Hearn said it will be available for review on the county website at www.schuylercounty.us/DocumentCenter/View/1914. Fagan said the report highlights “significant deficiencies.” The audit, by Ciaschi, Dietershagen, Little, Mickelson, & Company, LLP, lists incorrect balance amounts, which led to inaccurate financial projections.
• When asked about the suggestion to change the treasurer position from elected to appointed, O’Hearn said current Treasurer Gary Whyman requested the move. He added it will be on the November ballot for residents to approve or reject.
• Jeff Bartholomew, Office of Real Property Tax Services Syracuse regional manager, spoke about the STAR tax exemption application. He explained people who receive the basic STAR exemption on school taxes are being asked to reapply by Dec. 31. Bartholomew said the state is doing this to cut down on fraud, such as people claiming exemptions on more than one primary residence. Residents with questions are asked to call 518-4572036.