Olk Klaverack Santaa

Values, once gone, reclaimed by town


Copake assessor puts taxable property back on the rolls
COPAKE—It’s not exactly money growing on trees, but Town Assessor Craig Surprise has discovered a pretty penny’s worth of increased revenue for the town sprouting from properties that have not been properly assessed, some of them for years.
The town is in the midst of a revaluation of all its 3,011 properties and data collectors are currently out recording what they find really exists as compared to what previous assessment data shows. “We’re finding too much stuff not documented,” Mr. Surprise told the Town Board at its November 8 meeting. As an example, he mentioned a property on Main Street that was on the record as a single family residence, but was in reality a building containing four apartments.
The assessor also reported that since 2009, agricultural exemptions have been removed on 17 unqualified properties. Ag exemptions dropped from 150 to 133, earning the town $4,758,644 in taxable value now back on the rolls.
In the last three years, 2010 through 2012, a review of all exemptions to determine which ones are valid has netted the town a total of $10,174,100 in new taxable value, said Mr. Surprise.
Noting things are now moving in the right direction, he said his goal is to get assessments back to where they belong so taxpayers are not picking up the slack.
In other business, the town board:
*Heard from Supervisor Jeff Nayer, who said that in light of adoption of the 2013 budget earlier this month, the board should adopt a new local law to repeal the 2009 local law that created the position of a full-time court clerk. Funding for the full-time clerk is decreased in the 2013 budget. After getting approval on a motion to move forward (Mr. Nayer, Councilpersons Kelly Miller-Simmons and Jeanne Mettler in favor, Councilperson Linda Gabaccia opposed and Councilperson Susan Winchell-Sweeney abstained), Mr. Nayer asked Town Attorney Ken Dow to draft the law and set a public hearing prior to the December board meeting.
*Heard from Planning Board Chair Marcia Becker that her board is currently reviewing three major subdivisions. The board has not seen this many subdivisions in four years. She also noted that the Planning Board’s site plan approval of an earlier resort hotel project at Catamount, which never broke ground, has now expired and will have to undergo review again before construction can begin.
*Heard from Zoning Board of Appeals Chairman Frank Peteroy who read a memo he wrote to Code Enforcement Officer Edward Ferratto pointing out that the term “tile field,” used in connection with a matter before the ZBA, is 40 years old and means earthenware pipe. Noting that the Town Zoning Code is outdated, Mr. Peteroy asked the Town Board to adopt a resolution changing the term “tile field” to “absorption field.”
*Heard that the town’s former webmaster Marge David died. The board is looking into revamping the town’s website.
*Reappointed Bill Newcomb to the Board of Assessment Review.
The next Copake Town Board meeting is Thursday, December 13, starting with a public hearing on a local law to repeal the court clerk law at 6:45 p.m. The regular meeting gets underway at 7 p.m.
To contact Diane Valden email dvalden@columbiapaper.com.

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