Did you get your "new" brochure in the mail yesterday or today. I got mine and thought I would share in case you didn't get the last 3 or 4 copies the town board has presented. They have not added one new piece of information since they presented the bond resolutions on November 1, 2006. In fact, they are no longer telling you what each of the bonds amounts are. We mentioned to them at each of the informational meetings that the bond amounts are missing. I guess at this point, we can safely assume they don't care.
They are still doing their negative accounting--not that we should be surprised--they seemed to do a lot of that at year end. See our blog Missing from the March 1, 2007 OD article (cont'd).
Oh, and they changed the layout of the last page so that there is a space for the address. Yes, indeed, our tax dollars at work!
Let me give you a couple of new revelations:
1. The building the town wants to purchase at 1 Oxford Crossing is currently assessed for $563,000. When asked at the November 1, 2006 budget hearing, the assessor said commercial assessments haven't been redone since 2001 because we are no longer in the State Reassessment Program and therefore they are not up to market value.
Au contrare! The assessment is $563,000 because in 2001 when they were reassessing commercial properties, the assessment was lowered by $117,000 instead of raised. Why would that be you might ask? Well, I know for a fact that there wasn't a fire at 1 Oxford Crossing because I would have seen it.
Let's see why would you lower a commercial property---hmm! One reason comes to mind is that maybe not all the space was rented out---commercial property is figured on an income basis. However, since we were in the State Reassessment program until 2004 and all properties were supposed to have been looked at each year, you would have thought the assessor would have checked the next year to see if anything changed. So either the assessor didn't do his job or the rents weren't the reason. Also in early 2003, Mr. Schuurman was willing to pay $900,000 to purchase the building. Doesn't sound like not all the suites were rented out to me.
So what else could have caused a decrease in assessed value in a year when commercial properties were being reassessed. Could be the fact that the town owns the lower parking lot and the access road and in the 1990s the town board gave a lifetime lease to the people who owned the building back in 2001. Gee, I am surprised if that is the reason, because once again one of our members, Concerned Citizens for Honest & Open Government, was able to ascertain that when Mr. Schuurman bought the building, the appraisal firm did not take that as a negative. In fact, since the town granted the original owners a lifetime use of the property, the appraiser we talked to said it is as good as the land being part of 1 Oxford Crossing. So if that is the reason that Maxwell decreased the value of 1 Oxford Crossing, it is a pretty poor reason.
However, I suspect if we told you who owned that building in 2001, you might be able to figure out why the building "really" had a decrease in assessed value. It is probably for the same reason that 2 & 4 Oxford Crossing did not receive an increase in assessment in 2001. Unless, of course, all three of the buildings were not fully rented out---NOT!
2. These are not the only commercial properties in the Town of New Hartford that either didn't have an assessment increase in 2001 or were actually lowered instead of raised. I guess 2001 just wasn't a good year for increased value of commercial property in the Town of New Hartford. Amazing!
3. Assessments and Maxwell's change sheets are a matter of public information and are subject to a Freedom of Information request.
By the way, according to Attorney Gerald Green, the town attorney and head of the Town Republican Committee, the town plans on paying $998,000 for 1 Oxford Crossing if Bond Proposition #5 is passed by the voters on March 29, 2007. How sweet it is!
Incidentally, both 2 & 4 Oxford Crossing are currently assessed for $394,200 in case anyone is wondering. And I have heard that plans may already be in the works to purchase at least one of them for town offices if the vote is passed for the purchase of 1 Oxford Crossing. Wonder what price the town would be willing to pay for one or both of them?
Like I have said before, rumors they are flying! Watch this blog for the "truth"--as we receive documents from the Freedom of Information requests we submit, we will post them so that all taxpayers can be informed! And if we can't get copies of any documents that we request, we will also let you know that.
Democracy--government by the people for the people!