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State could investigate town of Brasher’s property reassessments

Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 5:01 PM EDT
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TOWN OF BRASHER, New York (WWNY) - We all want to complain about the property taxes we pay. In the town of Brasher, the complaints may have merit. Some residents believe town officials have been shown favoritism when it came to their property reassessments. Now a court-appointed hearing officer says it certainly appears that way and the state should investigate.

Town of Brasher residents got their property tax reassessments in April. There were a lot of complaints and questions. Now some answers are coming.

“It really sunk in to somebody that’s not connected to the area, and looking at things, to know that something was wrong,” said Glen Perry, town of Brasher taxpayer.

That somebody was a court-appointed hearing officer. Perry took the appeal of his reassessments that far. He won a sizable reduction in the assessments on his home and another property. It should save him thousands of dollars on property taxes.

“Ecstatic. I don’t think I could have written the ruling any better myself,” he said.

It wasn’t just the money saved. State Hearing Officer Michael Franklin accused town officials of using spies and gossip to collect data on homes. And he backed up a prime contention of Perry and others. He wrote in his decision: “The property owner indicates there is impropriety with favoritism shown to town officers. There certainly are appearances of that.”

Franklin wrote there was no explanation for why a town official’s home, larger than Perry’s, was assessed for less. He said what he found needed a closer look. He wrote: “Frankly, there are so many irregularities I would think a state investigation of this town would be appropriate.”

Another taxpayer, Philip Furnace, filed a grievance on the reassessment of his 280 acre farm, which was also heard by the state’s hearing officer. Furnace also won a significant reduction.

Contacted Tuesday by 7 News, Town Supervisor Mark Peets said he had no comment. He said he would meet with the town attorney Wednesday and might comment then.

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