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Golisano learns court schedule

B. Thomas Golisano has until April 30 to be ready for trial to challenge several of his Ontario County properties’ assessments.

Ontario County Supreme Court Justice Frederick G. Reed on Monday signed a scheduling order that also calls for the parties in the two matters to complete disclosure by March 28.

Robert L. Jacobson of the Jacobson Law Firm in Perinton, who represents the billionaire founder of Paychex and owner of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres did not appear in court. Neither did the other parties, which include Victor Assessor Wayne Pickering, South Bristol Assessor James Schartzer, the two towns and the towns’ boards of Assessment Review.

Golisano is challenging his assessments on five properties, two in the town of Victor, which are for sale, and three parcels along the western shore of Canandaigua Lake in the town of South Bristol.

He claims the assessments are “incorrect, inaccurate, unlawful and illegal” and that they are assessed at more than their actual value. He argues the assessments are unequal in that they were made at a higher proportionate value than assessments of other real property within the towns and also that they are unlawful because assessors did not follow the rules and regulations of the state Board of Equalization and Review, which Golisano also claims failed to ascertain the assessments as a percentage of full value.

Golisano, as he has done for the past few years, is seeking judicial review in an attempt to have the assessments reduced to what he argues is their full, true market value.

Jacobson said the Victor assessment has been reduced several times. The house at 1648 Malone Road is now listed for sale and, at some point, its sale price will determine its actual value. The 16.2-acre parcel — partially owned by Golisano’s daughter, Cynthia Golisano — was assessed at $2.65 million for 2010-2011. Golisano, according to court documents, claims the actual value is $1,013,333 and that it is over-assessed by $1,636,667.  According to the town’s real property office, it was assessed at $3.04 million in 2009.

Another parcel, 20.10 acres of vacant land next to the Malone Road property, was assessed at $179,000. Golisano claims the actual value is $59,667 and that is over-assessed by $119,333.

Both of the properties are within the Victor Central School District, whose superintendent was notified of Golisano’s petition in July.

The South Bristol properties, in the Naples Central School District, are occupied seasonally by Golisano, Jacobson said. They are:

  • 6493 Cooks Point Drive, assessed by the board at $2,612,200; Golisano claims the true full value is $870,733.
  • 6497 Cooks Point Drive, assessed at $1,027,300; Golisano claims the true full value is $342,433.
  • 6489 Cooks Point Drive, assessed at $1,639,100;  Golisano claims the true full value is $546,367.

Golisano told reporters in July that the Malone Road home costs him $100,000 a year in property taxes and that he pays $130,000 annually in taxes on the lakefront property in South Bristol.

He successfully challenged the assessment on his Mendon home, in Monroe County, this summer and is set to host a free property tax assessment seminar Wednesday evening to help other area residents learn about the assessment process, and how to fight their assessments. Registration for the event is closed because all 650 available seats are taken, but Golisano plans to post a video of the seminar on his website at www.responsiblenewyork.com

The Mendon property, at 470 Main St. Fishers, where Golisano resides when he’s not living in Florida, originally was assessed at $6 million in 2007. The figure was calculated in 2006, when the home was still under construction, and was lowered to $5 million by the Board of Assessment Review after Golisano objected.

In a July 12 decision, Monroe County Supreme Court Justice John J. Ark corrected the assessments to $2,568,450 for tax year 2007; to $2,869,949 for 2008; and $2,989,450 for 2009.

At the time, Golisano estimated the changes would save about $35,000 a year per $1 million of reduced assessment.