The Union Springs Central School District plans legal action against the town of Aurelius over lost tax revenue stemming from a commercial building’s incorrect assessment.
The district’s board of education approved a resolution Monday to authorize legal counsel to pursue the recovery of what the district argues is a $108,445 loss in revenue. The district said town assessor Linda Wright improperly assessed Grober Nutrition in Aurelius for the 2016 and 2017 assessment rolls tax years. The resolution said the district served the town a notice demanding that amount in damages through the district’s normal legal counsel, Ferrara Fiorenza PC, in early January.
District superintendent Jarett Powers said that although Grober’s property had been under a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes program, where certain businesses receive tax breaks as a financial incentive, Grober’s exempt status was not acknowledged in its assessment, and Grober refused to pay taxes on the resulting amount.
Aurelius Supervisor Edward Ide Jr. acknowledged Wright made a mistake, but said other entities such as the Cayuga County Office of Real Property Services also did not catch the error. Ide said there are no provisions requiring anyone to look at tax rolls to check for mistakes, so he argued the system essentially requires one person “to do every thing perfectly all the time.” He said the town has been working to ensure a similar issue never happens again.