Whitehall Town Board to hold public hearing on first law of 2014

B y Lee Tugas

Weather permitting, the Whitehall Town Board will soon put up for public hearing its first law of 2014.

“Local Law Number 1 of 2014” would establish an “alternative date for meetings of the Board of Assessment Review.”

The town board hopes to have met this Wednesday, March 12 at 7. If the board has met, it will put the law up for public hearing, Town Clerk Julie Millet said.

But Millet is not taking any chances. As she handed over a copy of the proposed law, she was on the phone with a town official who was worried about the heavy snowstorm predicted for Wednesday and Thursday.

In case the storm cancels the meeting, town officials, and village residents, can grab the gist of the proposed law by simply reading on:

“It is the purpose and intent of this local law to establish an alternative date for meetings of the Town’s Board of Assessment Review so as to allow the assessor to be present for meetings” of the Assessment Board of Review.

The Town of Whitehall employs a part-time sole assessor, who, according to the proposed law, “is in the simultaneous employ of two other assessing units” of the state. Because of those obligations, he often cannot be present at meetings of the Whitehall Board of Assessment Review.

In such a case as this, so that the assessor can be present, the state’s Real Property Tax Law permits a town to establish a meeting date for its Board of Assessment Review other than the fourth Tuesday of each May, according to Section 412 of state tax law.

Therefore, the proposed law, slated for public hearing, would propose that the meeting of the Whitehall Board of Assessment Review “shall take place on the first Wednesday in May, after the fourth Tuesday in May.”

The meeting shall continue for “so many days thereafter as the Board of Review deems necessary, for the purpose of hearing complaints in relation to assessment.”

That, according to its wording, is the change in “Local Law Number 1.”

All that stands between the proposed law and a public hearing is the weather for Wednesday and Thursday.

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