Village & Town Leaders Clash Over Huron Tax Assessment

By Adam Chick

August 14, 2012 Updated Aug 15, 2012 at 10:14 AM EDT

Endicott, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The Town of Union and the Village of Endicott are at odds over the settlement of new worth of the Huron Campus.

The massive former IBM lot is now worth just 27.5 percent of what it was worth at this time last year, creating a multi-million dollar hole in Endicott's budget.

Village leaders are saying they feel cheated, but Town of Union leaders disagree wholeheartedly.

"Mayor Bertoni, you were asked almost one year ago to attend a meeting requested by Huron about the assessment reduction. You were there. Did you not know of the 10 year agreement? Where have you been? Why has the school districts and the county been involved and all settled," said Deputy Supervisor Rose Sotak.

"That's totally false. We were never invited to a meeting we were never informed of a meeting. This all came out of nowhere," said John Bertoni, Mayor of Endicott.

Bertoni and the rest of the village board were hoping for a much better assessment on the Huron campus property.

The Town of Union says this was inevitable, and the drastic reduction of value should come as no surprise.

"When the deal was signed in 2002, if someone can say to me I knew this wasn't going to happen 10 years down the road, you know, they put their head in the sand," said Union Town Councilman Thomas Augostini

The Village of Endicott's budget will be reduced by about $1,100,000 as a result of the assessment.

This means the average taxpayer owning a $75,000 house could have to pay an additional $375 in taxes.

Bertoni has said he was kept in the dark.

However Sotak says there was ample opportunity for him and the Endicott board to attend negotiations.

"I don't know which is worse, that you were not there for your residents, or you cannot remember the months details of request through the town of Union and Judge Lebous for you to attend the negotiation and the fact finding updates," Sotak said.

"If they can prove I was invited, or this village board was invited, in any way, manner, or form. I can honestly say that we had a meeting scheduled once, Rose all of a sudden got sick, the lawyer never showed up, and we were waiting here for the meeting to happen," Bertoni said.

Endicott's budget is due in nearly 10 months.

Bertoni says they want to try to offer the same services they've been offering, but says it will be hard to do so with the reduced budget.