Schenectady County

Tax refunds for eight with Rotterdam-Schenectady lots

Schenectady County and Rotterdam will give back a portion of property taxes to eight landowners w


Schenectady County and Rotterdam will give back a portion of property taxes to eight landowners with parcels straddling the town and city border.

The town and county have agreed to refund about $30,000 in taxes paid between 2007 and 2009. Members of Mohonasen’s Board of Education still need to decide whether to give back about $15,700 in school tax overpayments made during the same period, but district officials are confident they’ll follow suit.

Town Attorney Michael Godlewski said the error occurred when a number of border properties were assessed at full value in Rotterdam, when portions of the parcels also stretched into Schenectady. Property owners with parcels split between Schenectady and Rotterdam pay a portion of taxes to each municipality.

While these property owners continued to pay fractional Schenectady taxes, their tax bills in Rotterdam reflected the full value of their land and any improvements. Godlewski said the error was brought to Supervisor Frank Del Gallo’s attention in February, and he vowed to make a correction.

“He wanted to make sure they got money back,” Godlewski said.

But an advisory opinion from the state Office of Real Property Services was initially interpreted by the town as suggesting the overpayment couldn’t be refunded. County Attorney Chris Gardner later determined that a correction was in order.

“He’s confidant that we are within our legal boundaries to do this,” Godlewski said.

The error was apparently made by GAR Associates, which completed a full revaluation of Rotterdam in 2007. The town expects to return the money this summer.

Meanwhile, Godlewski and fellow Town Attorney Town Attorney Joseph Liccardi have become the lawyers of record in the town’s lawsuit against GAR over alleged errors in the revaluation. Rotterdam was previously represented by Paul Goldman, a private attorney selected by the all Republican Town Board when the lawsuit was filed last year.

The legal action was spurred following a $30,000 study in 2008 reviewing GAR’s work. Godlewski said he and Liccardi are still reviewing the lawsuit before deciding whether to advise the Town Board to proceed.

“We’re having outside people look at it,” he said Wednesday. “We want to make sure we have all our facts before we make a final recommendation to the town.”

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