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Golisano continues assessment battle

The fight between Thomas Golisano and the town of Mendon assessor’s office continues.

The Paychex Inc. founder and chairman released a statement Friday announcing his intention to continue disputing a $3.65 million assessment of his home. In 2007 Golisano filed a petition in state Supreme Court to dispute the home’s $6 million assessment, which was then dropped to $3.65 million.

He is scheduled to appear in Monroe County Court Monday in the final step in the grievance process. Golisano said his case is a testament to the unfair real property tax system in New York.

“A system is prejudiced when the burden of proof—financially and figuratively—falls onto the citizen,” Golisano said in the statement. “Under the law, the assessor is ‘presumed correct’ and homeowners must prove this to be untrue. Building a case requires lawyers and appraisals, which are paid out of your own pocket. If you are able to prove your case and your home value is lowered, the costs you incurred will generally never be repaid.”

Last year Golisano announced he was changing his full-time residence to Florida, in part because of the unfair property tax system in New York.

The tax assessment reflects only one person’s opinion of fair-market value, and errors in assessment can leave homeowners overpaying for years, Golisano said. The assessor does not have to present a case during grievance proceedings and most grievance boards only give homeowners 10 minutes to make their case and do not reimburse for legal costs incurred, Golisano said.

In 2007 Golisano moved into the 16-room stone home on 39 acres formerly the site of a tennis club. In his statement Golisano noted no other home in the area has sold for more than $3 million and properties with more square footage and equivalent land value have been assessed for half of his assessment.

Golisano said he hopes his actions will encourage other homeowners to investigate the accuracy of their assessments.

 (c) 2010 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail rbj@rbj.net.


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