Welcome to the Finger Lakes! Our theme song:

In a town this size, there's no place to hide
Everywhere you go, you meet someone you know...
In a smokey bar, in the backseat of your car
In your own little house, someone's sure to find you out
What you do and what you think
What you eat and what you drink...

(Kieran Kane)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Tax assessment pits county vs. county


Among New Yorkers protesting their tax assessments we now find Cayuga County's government.  Cauyga County, it turns out, bought a piece of land in Oswego County, and is now suing to get its tax asessment reduced.  

Yes, taxpayers in Cayuga County will be forced to pay taxes on land they "own" in Oswego County.  Justin Murphy explains the convoluted confiscation in the Auburn Citizen.
The building at 11 River Glen Plaza, a former grocery store which the county bought May 16, is assessed at $2 million. By 2011 tax levels, that means about $102,000 in property taxes.
In a tax certiorari petition filed July 27, the county and JHMPAC, the entity from which the county bought the building for $950,000, asked an Oswego County judge to lower the assessment to $700,000, which would yield $35,850 in 2011 taxes.
“It’s part of a process you go through with any purchase,” Cayuga County Legislature Chairman Peter Tortorici said. “The assessment came in, I think, a little high, and we’re just going through the process to see if we can get it reduced.”
Government entities generally don’t pay property taxes, but Cayuga County does have to pay in this case because the property in question is outside county borders, according to an advisory opinion issued by the state Office of Real Property Services.
So highly paid experts toiling in our county governments can't agree on what a property is worth. What confidence can we then have in our own assessments?  For instance, this million dollar lakefront mansion in Seneca County was just reassessed at $194,000.  Sound a  little low to you?

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