Millennium tax assessment reduced by $24 million

Shortfall on the town level begins in 2022

By GREGORY HATTON
Posted 2/17/21

ELDRED, NY — Millennium Pipeline originally asked for a reduction of $56 million; in the end, it was reduced by $24 million.

The outcome of the tax certiorari litigation with Millenium …

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Millennium tax assessment reduced by $24 million

Shortfall on the town level begins in 2022

Posted

ELDRED, NY — Millennium Pipeline originally asked for a reduction of $56 million; in the end, it was reduced by $24 million.

The outcome of the tax certiorari litigation with Millenium Pipeline, LLC was announced at the February 9 Highland Town Board meeting by town attorney Michael Davidoff.

The property, known as the pump station or gas compressor, is located at 1236 Rte. 55. The settlement, approved unanimously, holds the current assessment at $86,326,200 for the 2021 tax year. It will be reduced to $62,000,000 for the next four years, after which both parties can renegotiate.

Millennium Pipeline challenged the assessment in the fall of 2020, citing that it was hurting financially and that other communities in the state with pumping stations had agreed to a $30,000,000 assessment. The town quickly coordinated its legal efforts with Sullivan County and the Eldred Central School District. County legislative chair Rob Doherty encouraged the stakeholders to seek guidance from the Albany-based Vincelette Law Firm; they, in turn, sought an expert in appraisal valuation.

Davidoff said that the town’s initial appraisal had been accurate and that the settlement was a win for the town and the school district.

“Normally, when you settle and the assessment is reduced, you have to pay back money for that year. Millennium agreed not to ask for any payback for this year.” Davidoff said. The town received the 2021 tax payment based on the $86,326,200 assessment in January. In the fall, the school board will have to deal with the shortfall in the new tax assessment.

Haas added: “We have the time to take the shortfall into account as we prepare the budget for next year. The town has been growing every year, and indications are that continued property sales will compensate us to some degree. New building and additions should help to increase our tax base.”

Deputy supervisor Jim Gutekunst said, “The real hero is Lori King, our assessor, who stood her ground. She went on principle and, with her knowledge, came up with the original $86 million assessment. The attorney and expert for Vincelette both said her numbers were correct. We’re lucky [that the original assessment reduction request was not granted] because the biggest impact would have been on our schools.”

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