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Taxation inequity, but no religious bias

January 24, 2012

Re: your article of January 11, “Tax consultant slams Bethel assessor:” Unlike Mr. Allen’s clients we have not been subject to any religious discrimination, but believe there is a culture of taxation inequity at the Bethel Town Hall.

We are full-time residents in Bethel since March 2009. According to public records, our property is assessed based on an erroneous “market value.” When we questioned the assessor’s office, on several occasions, why our house was “valued” at $115,000 more than our purchase price, we were told that this value is determined by the state. This is incorrect. Market value is determined by the last sale price and by similar sales in the neighborhood. Ergo our house was vastly overvalued.

Of great concern to us is that two houses on our road, one 50% larger than ours and one a similar size, both of similar vintage, were valued much lower than ours and therefore were assessed lower taxes. Of greater concern is that one of these houses is owned by a relative of the assessor.

Perhaps the Bethel assessor has been in power for too long and has lost sight of her responsibility to the residents of Bethel to provide fair and equitable assessments.

We are happy to pay our fair share of taxes. To insure fair taxation, we plan to tender our official demands for unbiased assessments, and will join with other aggrieved Bethel residents to do this.

Anne Foley
Karen Blanchard
Bethel, NY