The town of Glenville and village of Scotia face the potential loss of thousands of dollars in tax revenue if the owner of four local apartment buildings is successful in lowering their assessment.
Westmere Realty LLC is seeking to lower the combined assessment on four multifamily apartment buildings it owns at 431 Ballston Road, and 7, 37 and 103 Glen Ave. from about $4 million to about $2.6 million in a lawsuit filed in July in state Supreme Court.
David R. Murphy Jr. of the Hacker Murphy law firm argues that the assessments do not reflect the true market value and are excessive.
Glenville is fighting the appeal. Earlier this month, the Town Board voted to hire the appraisal firm of Emminger, Newton, Pigeon & Magyar to conduct two independent appraisals at a cost not to exceed $7,800.
The parcel at 431 Ballston Ave., which is outside the village of Scotia’s border, is assessed at $1,466,200 and Westmere is seeking to reduce it to $910,000. That would cut the annual town tax bill from $17,725 to $10,951, according to Town Assessor Darlene Abbatecola.
“That’s a lot of money,” she said.
The three Glen Avenue properties are located in the village. The assessment changes being sought would result in a total reduction of about $19,000 in town, county and village taxes, according to Abbatecola.
She said she believes it is a fair assessment, which takes into account the rents collected from the properties. No court date has been set, but all four challenges will likely be grouped together, she said.
Although three of the properties are in the village of Scotia, the town of Glenville handles the assessment for village properties. Town officials want the village to help pay to fight the lawsuit, however.
Village Attorney Lydia Marola is looking into whether the village can do that. “We can’t even have our own attorney if we wanted one. You have to rely on what the town does. If they assess for us, they have to carry the whole thing for us,” she said.
Scotia Mayor Kris Kastberg said he worried about the exposure to the village if Westmere Realty is successful.
“Any assessment that is reduced on one property, the tax burden falls on the rest of the property owners,” he said. “I think it’s going to hurt us significantly if we don’t deal with this.”
Trustee Joe Rizzo also worried that if the lawsuit is successful, it would create a “domino effect,” with other property owners challenging their assessments.
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