Lady Liberty Weeping AGAIN: Coeymans Reval & Property Tax Grievances

14 May

The current CoVID-19 “pandemic” has wrecked havoc in many areas of our formerly “normal” — if we can characterize anything in Coeymans as “normal” — lives and lifestyles. Schools have closed. Graduations have been cancelled. Businesses have closed, some permanently. Food and other products in short supply or not available at all. Government offices closed and services limited. Student loans suspended and income tax filing postponed. Unemployment benefits extended and expanded — some filers getting $600 per week in addition to what they would normally be entitled to. And the federal government is handing out so-called stimulus checks of $600-$1200 depending on the filer’s income.

But the present Coeymans administration under George McHugh and his puppets have closed local government to the public and has silenced the public; Coeymans residents have lost their voice in Town Hall. CoVID-19 mandated precautions have been with us for more than 100 days. The Town of Coeymans hasn’t had a public Town Boar Meeting for at least 3 months. The temporary assessments reflecting the revaluation was published on or about March 1, 2020, when the social distancing and isolation precautions were going into effect, making any public comment impossible. And you know the rest of the story.

According to New York State Real Property Law, from time to time it may become advisable to conduct a general reappraisal of all property in an assessing unit such as the Town of Coeymans. In such case the Real Property Tax Law, § 572, authorizes the governing body of a municipality, the Coeymans Town Board, to employ experts to assist assessors in the reappraisal program. However, the assessment roll which is prepared following a reappraisal still constitutes a record of the assessor’s judgment of value. The reappraisal is considered to be for the assessor’s “assistance”, and the assessor is required to make his/her independent determinations and to verify that s/he has estimated the assessed values as prescribed by law (Real Property Tax Law, § 514). So how did Coeymans Sole Assessor DeRose make her estimate of assessed values? Good question, and one that should have been asked during Public Comment during a Town Board meeting. But no board meeting, no public comment. No opportunity to ask questions. No answers. Business as usual in Coeymans.

The Town Board does not have authority to change or modify the determinations of the assessor; nor can the Town Board order the assessor to change the level of assessment which s/he has chosen for his assessment roll (see Drelich v. Kahn, 60 Misc.2d 227, 302 N.Y.S.2d 634).

So the problem of revaluation of Coeymans properties lies squarely in the lap of Ms Dawn DeRose, Town of Coeymans Sole Assessor, an appointee/hiree, and is based on the recommendations of any “experts” hired to provide the reassessment assistance. But who were those “experts?” And what were their recommendations? When were the recommendations actually made? How were they determined? Good questions, and ones that should have been asked during Public Comment during a Town Board meeting. But no board meeting, no public comment. No opportunity to ask questions. No answers. Business as usual in Coeymans.

Furthermore, § 558 provides for “reassessment”. This section was derived from section 57 of the NYS Tax Law, and it originally contained an introductory phrase “[w]henever by the judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction,” it appears to the governing body that any property liable to taxation was illegally or erroneously assessed, such body may “reassess” the property. But this provision usually applies only in the case of property that had escaped assessment in the first place.

Most assessment records are public records. Indeed, the Real Property Tax Law includes a number of provisions specifically identifying various assessment roll and tax roll records as public records (e.g., property inventory [RPTL, §§ 500(1), 501]; sales data [RPTL, § 574(5)] {2}; tentative assessment roll [RPTL, § 506(3)]; final assessment roll [RPTL, §§ 516(2), 1412]; final assessment roll with taxes extended [RPTL, § 900(3)]; tax roll [RPTL, §§ 946, 1330(3), 1332(4), 1436(3), 1588]). (Editor’s Note: RPTL = Real Property Tax Law). What this means is that anyone can demand production of these documents under the Freedom of Information Law (F.O.I.L.). But if Town Offices are closed or if access to town services is limited, have fun getting a response to your F.O.I.L. demand.

Section 306 of the Real Property Tax Law provides that all real property shall be assessed at the full value thereof. “Full value” has been construed by numerous judicial decisions to mean the amount which a willing buyer would pay a willing seller under normal circumstances. Although section 306 would appear to require assessors each year to assess each parcel of real property within their jurisdictions at the market value thereof, the courts have determined that the full value standard is satisfied so long as the assessor assesses each parcel at the same percentage of full value.

But that’s where our point lies: The law states that a full value assessment means the amount which a willing buyer would pay a willing seller under normal circumstances. Now, people, property owners int he Town of Coeymans, given the fact that the Temporary Assessment Rolls reflecting the revaluation of Coeymans properties was published on or about March 1, 2020, right in the heat of the CoVID-19 pandemic, and given the fact that there were no Town Board Meetings or public inputs or responses to the reassessment, and given the apparent fact that the Town of Coeymans and the Office of the Sole Assessor have presumed that the public is satisfied with the reassessed values but has not been heard,

Don’t you think that your rights are being swept under the carpet?

First of all, these are NOT normal circumstances. there are and have not been any “willing buyers”  who would pay a “willing seller” — meaning anyone owning property in the Town of Coeymans — the previously assessed full market value of any property in Coeymans, much less the new increased reassessment values of those properties. The whole economy is in a slump and real estate is one of the first sectors to suffer. These are not normal circumsances.

Really, you’d think the town supervisor, Mr George McHugh, his Town Board, the Sole Assessor would we aware of the dire situation this region, this state, this entire county and the world is in,and postpone the “reassessment” until businesses and people can get back on their feet! But NO! That would take a brain and common sense!

In an earlier article, we asked if this is what George McHugh and his puppets think is “business friendly?” We asked if it makes any sense to expect new businesses to relocate to Coeymans if Coeymans has just reassessed real estated and raised the market values for the purposes of raising assessments? Is this the way the McHugh mob expects to attract new families to purchase homes in Coeymans and to resettle in Coeymans with their families? WE THINK NOT!!!

The Coeymans revaluation plan has been too hastily implemented by an insensitive Sole Assessor, Dawn DeRose, and the Town Board has been mute on the subject. If you are lucky and can get through to Town offices, you’ll likely be told that you can file a grievance contesting your assessment. But here’s another hitch: Grievances will be heard by telephone and each will be limited to 10 minutes. You can file your documentation up to 1 day prior to the grievance hearing, but it’s unlikely anyone is going to look at it. Apparently, there have been so many grievances filed that the Assessment Review Board will hear grievances on May 26 and May 28/

There was no Coeymans Town Board meeting in May, and it’s unlikely there will be one in June. In other words, Coeymans Property Owners are cooked, thanks to the McHugh mob and Coeymans Sole Assessor, Dawn DeRose.

In our opinion, Sole Assessor Dawn DeRose should have kept the previous assessments this year and implemented the reassessed values next year, taking into consideration the problems caused by CoVID-19, and the fact that taxpayers have been deprived of due process and their voices because of the cancellation of Town Board Meetings in March, when property owners would have been informed of the temporary new assessments resulting from the revaluation, and no Town Board meetings in April, and May, and most likely no meeting in June.

Local concerned residents have set up a special email account to receive your complaints and stories. Let them know what you think about the revaluation and the increases in your assessments. You’ll get fair treatment only if you speak up and share!


You’ll get trampled by the McHugh mob if you try to go at them alone. You need to join the rest of Coeymans Concerned Citizens if you’re going to fight back and safeguard your rights.

Take a stand!





One response to “Lady Liberty Weeping AGAIN: Coeymans Reval & Property Tax Grievances

  1. 55hardtop

    May 14, 2020 at 11:14 pm

    On a car guy email message that only us can see-no names, just me. A lot of these people are professional so I thought it might produce an answer.



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