T he village has to refund a local taxpayer a few thousand dollars after the town agreed to decrease the assessment of a local commercial property last fall.
The village agreed to pay a refund of $3,452.45 to the owner of a commercial property on Route 4 that is occupied by the local Subway franchise.
The agreement was a bit of a formality because the village was legally obligated to provide the refund after the town agreed to reassess the property last fall.
The village does not have an assessor and instead permits the town to be the sole assessing agency for Whitehall meaning any action taken by the town must be followed by the village.
In October, the town agreed to reduce the assessment of the property from $315,800 to $250,000. That revised assessment was retroactively applied to 2010, 2011, and 2012, and will remain in effect for 2013 and 2014.
The owner of the property argued that since half of the building wasn’t occupied, the value of the property was depressed.
If the owner finds an additional tenant, the property would be subject to a new assessment.
The agreement also included a stipulation that the town would not be liable for payment of excess principal for the years 2010, 2011, and 2012. In other words, the town will not have to pay back taxes it collected in those years that were above the revised assessment of $250,000.
Trustee Ken Bartholomew voted against the resolution.
“Everyone’s taxes will go up because of this,” Bartholomew said.
Water project going well
Mayor Peter Telisky said a water line project north of the village on State Route 22 is going well and remains on schedule.
“They expect to finish in early spring,” Telisky said.
Crews began laying the main line near South Bay early last week.
Riznick Construction broke ground on the project in late January and the company will replace 1,000 feet of old waterline with 14-inch PVC pipes from South Bay to near the intersection of Neddo Street.
Telisky said the project is important because it will replace outdated water lines in one of the few areas in the village where any future expansion could occur.
The work is the second phase of a water main replacement project that was completed on Broadway in the spring and summer of 2011. That project resulted in the replacement of a water main from the area of Trinity Episcopal Church south to McDonald’s.
The work is expected to cost around $670,000 and will be paid for using the last remaining monies from a low-interest loan provided by Environmental Facilities Corp. a few years ago.
Telisky said the village may be able to retrieve the old pipe and scrap it. He said a cursory examination of the pipe there could net the village as much as $70,000.
The village has scraped old pipe in the past and has used the money to purchase things that provide a “long-term benefit” to the village and its resident