Since Southampton Town was willing...

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Since Southampton Town was willing... meet me halfway, I went to Hampton Bays this evening for a Town Board meeting at the Hampton Bays Community Center on upper Ponquogue Avenue.

(Given the advancing decreptitude of the actual Town Hall in Southampton, this is something the Town fathers and mothers might consider doing on a regu­lar basis... are ya running with me, Jay?)

The Town Board

I had deemed that my 2015 Property Tax assessment for the ole family homestead was too high.

I got no action out of either the Town Tax Assessor or Tax Receiver... calls to those offices were less than salubrious as the programmed response was the macro, "Take it up with the County. It's in their hands now."

A familiar story: a hopeless slow motion struggle against the flacid and inpenetrable barrier of red tape, autonomic secrecy, bilateral mistrust, bureaucratic inertia and the infuriating indifference of appointed officials.

So on a whim I joined a small number of people who'd retained Hugh M. Merle to grieve my 2015 assessment through the SCAR process.

(Nothing ventured, nothing gained... you don't walk on the railroad track, you don't get hit by the train.)

The process was interminable, but in several instances (me included), Hugh was successful and more than a year later I received refunds from both the Village of Westhampton Beach and, through Suffolk County, Southampton Town.

My legal and filing fees ran to $2,000, and I got back approximately $2,450... a modest net gain.

But here's the rub: it's now 2017 and I've already paid half of my 2016-2017 Property Taxes to the Town with my Village bill (based on the Town assessment) soon to come.

Neither of these will reflect the reduction achieved via SCAR.

That was my pitch to the Town Board this evening, and they seemed to "get" it.

Town Attorney James M. Burke, whose primary responsi­bil­ity is to protect his Board, gave me his card and told me to contact him in the morning, so we shall see.


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