JOHNSTOWN - The city is suing the town to get an estimated $754,000 hike in its assessment lowered at its Christman Reservoir watershed property off Route 29.
The city on Friday filed an Article 7 proceeding under state Real Property Tax Law in state Supreme Court in Johnstown. The legal action, filed by the Vincelette Law Firm of Albany, is against the town of Johnstown, town Assessor Katherine Oare and the town's Board of Assessment Review.
The Article 7 proceeding calls for the lowering of assessments involving two city watershed parcels lying on town land.
Johnstown Town Supervisor Nancy MacVean said Monday property in question at the Christman Reservoir last had an assessment review in 2004.
MacVean said Oare adjusted one of the property parcel's value after she did a visit on the watershed property and found a building. With land added, the parcel's assessment was raised to about $1.5 million. One of the other parcels went down by $711,100 because of an error involving the wrong parcel.
With the tax roll changes, the total increase of the assessment of the city's properties was about $754,700.
"It's a city issue, but it's being handled by the Water Board," Johnstown Mayor Sarah Slingerland said Monday. "I know they're very concerned about the watershed assessment."
Water Board President Nicholas Cannizzo Sr. said Monday his body was notified, seemingly out of nowhere, that assessment on its watershed property was going up. He said City Attorney Susan Palmer Johnson filed a grievance with the town, but the town rejected the city's claim.
"We're going to court over it," he stated..
He said Oare indicated the building should be assessed after reviewing the property.
"She said she didn't realize it was there," Cannizzo said. "It's only a brick building with some sand in it."
MacVean, on the other hand, said the assessment change merely involves updated information provided by Oare and applied to the tax rolls.
"She told me she looked around and found a big building that she didn't know existed out there," the supervisor said.
Oare couldn't be reached for comment Monday.
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.