Another Inequity - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1916231

Another Inequity

I filed a grievance complaint on my real estate property two weeks before the February 15 filing date.

Facts of my case: The two properties to the west of me are each assessed at $11,000; the property to the east of me, $11,000; the property across the street, $9,000. My property is assessed at $17,000.

Each of these five properties is a ½-acre lot. My house has the smallest square footage of the five.

I attended a hearing on the complaint. The village representatives were Trustees Roy Stevenson and Joe McLoughlin, and Village Assessor Bill McCoy. After presenting the facts noted above (and others) and requesting that the village fix the egregious over-assessment of my property, which has cost me and my wife over $30,000 over the last 20 years, I was later informed that Joe and Bill had suggested no change in my assessed value. Roy suggested some change, and the three of them agreed on a reduction to $13,600.

When Roy told me this, I was irate. I could get no clear explanation of why my property would continue to be assessed at a substantially higher value than the comparables presented.

Mayor Jesse Warren and Village Administrator Charlene Kagel-Betts both read my complaint and Statement of Bias that I prepared. The mayor agreed with me and said he would get me my number, subject to counsel from the village attorney.

Charlene talked to both Roy and Bill, but unfortunately she is clueless as to how the village determines assessed value and was easily deceived by a bogus, irrelevant presentation of current market values provided by Bill McCoy. Note: Village assessed values are based on a 1992 appraisal. They are never changed unless the property is substantially improved.

I believe this unacceptable result is a reflection of the three individuals who reviewed the complaint. The assessor, Bill McCoy, should never be allowed to vote in this process. Any grievance filed is, in effect, saying that the assessor is doing a poor job.

So these three individuals produced an unsupportable verdict and there is no appeal process. The only recourse is to sue the village.

I have compared the assessed value to market value of over 80 village properties. A disturbing and very clear result is that the village over-assesses low-value properties and under-assesses high-value properties. Another inequity in our society. The residents of Windward Way pay three to six times more in village taxes, in relation to value, than the residents of the estate section.

Hopefully, The Press can investigate. It would be nice to have someone care about the inequity of punishing residents of lower-value properties with a disproportionate share of the exorbitant village taxes.

David Rung

Southampton Village