Honest & Open Government? This kind of underhandedness is exactly what needs to be squelched in the Town of New Hartford. When a town board enacts a board resolution and then the same town board defies their own resolution, it is unconscionable! When a town department head feels that he can openly try to "skirt" that same resolution (and I'm not convinced that at least one board member is not in cahoots with the assessor), it is time to take a close look at who is running this town.
On August 7, 2007, we asked the Town Clerk for certification of the validity of the information contained on the purported 2007 Final Roll disk. That is our right under the Freedom of Information Law and the town clerk is charged with seeing that we receive a certification if we request it. To date, we have yet to receive certification that the disk(s)we were given indeed contained 2007 assessment data. Guess the assessor doesn't want to certify to something that is not true--can't say that I blame him. He is facing a double edge sword right now--if he doesn't certify the records, he has a problem--if he does certify the records, he has a problem because I can prove that the records are not 2007 records.
That brings us to August 24, 2007, I sent an email to:
all town board membersEither the assessor has some explaining to do and/or the Town Board is derelict in seeing that their board resolution of July 11, 2007 is followed or the Town Board never had any intention of seeing to it that we received the requested information and their resolution was merely for the "public view". Guess somewhere along the line someone underestimated my abilities in database management.
the town clerk
Mr. Green, the New Hartford Town Attorney
Rachel S. Pauley, Office of the State Attorney General
Robert Freeman, Executive Director of the Committee on Open Government
I have to ask, just what is it that the Assessor and/or the Town Board are hiding?
The fact that the assessor and Maxwell used tax map numbers to determine neighborhood codes instead of grouping "like" homes and you were given a line of "bull" when you asked questions during the State Reassessment Program years?
The fact that some very recognizable names are enjoying assessments that never seemed to get raised while many others seemed to be raised two and three times?
The fact that some assessments were never raised even though the assessment database clearly shows that square feet of living space was added during the State Reassessment years?
The fact that many commercial properties were never reassessed during the State Reassessment years?
The fact that during the State Reassessment many homes were moved from one neighborhood code to another neighborhood code year after year for no rhyme or reason?
The fact that some 5,000+ square feet homes are considered "Neighborhood Codes 4817 - Starter Homes" and have only been trended 7.5% just like the homes on Balsam Crescent and Sycamore?
Or could they be hiding something regarding Preswick Glen?
Or are they just so arrogant that they pass a resolution in favor of giving us the database and then behind the scenes prevent us from getting the information and willingly defy their own board resolution? Is this the kind of government you want in New Hartford?There is no way of telling what they think they might be hiding but I can tell you that some of our "leaders" (and I use the word loosely) are not happy with the amount of information on our website and our Assessments Online program. We do have the right to the assessment information...it is just a pity that the Town Board is so underhanded that they will stop at nothing even if it is unlawful.