Supervisors question new assessment memorandum

The Essex County Board of Supervisors.

The Essex County Board of Supervisors. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— “They do not feel comfortable with the MOU as worded,” Douglas responded.

“Nothing has come back to me,” Stack continued. “You may be getting that; they are not coming to me.”

St. Armand Supervisor Joyce Morency asked why there needed to be a new system when each town in Essex County has a 100 percent equalization rate.

“Every town is now at 100 percent,” Morency said. “I do not know what else the state wants from us.”

“The problem is if we do not go out and do it, you will go out and start to drop the equalization rate and that punishes us,” Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava added. “How many changes do you have in the town of Moriah in four years.”

Westport Supervisor Daniel Connell said that he felt the wording in the MOU was confusing.

“The last sentence of the memorandum says that if you sign it, you understand it, so I can't sign it because I do not understand it,” Connell said. “There is one paragraph that I have no clue what it is talking about.”

Stack reiterated that he had not heard these concerns before the meeting.

“We sent everyone these MOUs and ask for input and concerns,” Stack said. “We have not had any questions come back to us yet. I cannot answer any questions that I do not get. It's not just to be at 100 percent, is about being equitable. Equal value homes need to be treated fairly. Equity is much more important.”

North Elba Supervisor Roby Politi said it was not a matter of policy, but a lack of trust in the state for doing their part of the bargain.

“We all want to cooperate with you, yet it is very difficult for anyone in this body to want to cooperate with the state because you cannot trust what the state is saying,” Politi said. “If you could guarantee me that we are going to get paid, great. I have a lot of agreements with the state of New York that say we are going to get paid and we are not getting paid for any of them.”

Politi also questioned the numbers that were used to determine proper assessments by the state based on the date of the data.

“You want to up the property in North Elba by 4 percent and I have to laugh,” he said. “The data that you are using is four or five years old and it makes you out of touch.”

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