Supervisors appeal to attorney general

ELIZABETHTOWN County officials at the Oct. 27 Ways and Means committee meeting expressed frustration over a state policy they say represents an unnecessary double standard. Committee members voted to draft a letter to state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, requesting support in questioning a section of real property tax law that allows for reduced taxes on condominiums. With representatives from the NYS real property tax service present, North Elba Supervisor Roby Politi inquired about any efforts to reform section 339Y of the real property tax law. The law, as Politi explained, allows some properties considered to be condominiums to be assessed at much lower taxable values than most other properties of similar market value. Its costing the town an astronomical amount of money, said Politi. Politi later estimated that about 1,000 properties in his town have been granted the classification. Those second- or third-homeowners arent paying their fair share, stated Politi. As a result, he said, other taxpayers end up having to make up the difference. Property tax consultant Michael Swan stated that he is opposed to the policy, and that many state representatives have tried to push legislation to reform section 339Y, which originally applied only to buildings with three or more stories. The big hold-up that Ive seen in the past several years is Mr. (Sheldon) Silver, said Swan, stating that the speaker for the state assembly has led the charge to defeat any bill that would reform the policy. Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava suggested filing a lawsuit against the state to challenge the law. Even if you dont have them in your own municipality, if you have them in the county, it is affecting everybody said Swan. Committee chair Ron Jackson blamed Cuomo for overlooking the unfair policy. Thats his job to protect us from (legislation) like that, said Jackson. If he wasnt subservient to Sheldon Silver, perhaps he would do that job.

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