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Crown Point assessment battle continues

Lawsuit filed against town board

The assessment battle in Crown Point did not end when a new town administration took office earlier this year.
The latest move in the on-going fight is a lawsuit filed by two members of the Crown Point Board of Assessment Review whose appointments were rescinded after the new town board took office in January.

The assessment battle in Crown Point did not end when a new town administration took office earlier this year. The latest move in the on-going fight is a lawsuit filed by two members of the Crown Point Board of Assessment Review whose appointments were rescinded after the new town board took office in January.

— The assessment battle in Crown Point did not end when a new town administration took office earlier this year.

The latest move in the on-going fight is a lawsuit filed by two members of the Crown Point Board of Assessment Review whose appointments were rescinded after the new town board took office in January.

The suit, filed in State Supreme Court of Essex County, asks that Glenn Russell and Ronald Clarke be restored to the board of assessment review and that the appointments of two new members who took their places be nullified.

A Board of Assessment Review hears cases in which property owners dispute their tax assessments. The BAR has the authority to change an assessment in response to such challenges. It meets once a year on Grievance Day, this year on May 23.

Russell and Clarke were appointed to the review panel Dec. 8, 2011, by a 3-2 vote. Voting for them were Supervisor Bethany Kosmider and trustees Yvonne DuShane and Bob Patnode. Opposing them were trustees Tom Walters and Charlie Mazurowski.

After Kosmider and DuShane left office, the new board that now includes Supervisor Charles Harrington and trustee Tara Peters rescinded those appointments Jan. 5 and named Joseph Duval and Douglas Woods to the board of assessment review. The vote was 4-1 with Harrington, Peters, Walters and Mazurowski voting yes. Patnode was opposed.

Ticonderoga attorney Dominick Viscardi, representing Russell and Clarke, said the Jan. 5 action is illegal.

“The members of a board of assessment review can only be removed for cause — and then only after a hearing,” Viscardi, a former state supreme court judge, said. “When the new board rescinded these appointments at their organizational meeting Jan. 5 they didn’t follow the law. They had no cause; they held no hearing.”

Crown Point Supervisor Harrington did not return calls seeking comment on the suit.

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