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Schuyler County Property Assessment Battle

Schuyler County Assessment Battle

Schuyler County (WENY) -- Schuyler County leaders are gearing up for a fight with two major corporations that pay a lot of taxes. Inergy and Walmart want their property assesments cut in half.

The two companies have the highest taxable properties in the county, and reducing their assessments would cost the county, schools and local governments hundreds of thousands of dollars. County and school leaders said they feel those businesses have a moral obligation to support the community.

"This would be a devastating cut to basically all levels of government," said County Adminitrator, Tim O'Hearn.

Inergy wants the assessed value of almost $30 million reduced to $14.56 million. Walmart wants theirs dropped from $12.4 million to $5.6 million.

That would shift the burden to other taxpayers -- residents and businesses -- in the area. The Watkins Glen school district alone would lose $270,000.

"The writing is on the wall, it's pretty evident the impact will be further reductions and at this point, further reductions means less opportunity for children," said Watkins Glen Schools Superintendent, Tom Phillips.

The county, town and school has collectively hired outside council to help in the fight.

"There's an issue of fairness and the real property system is based on a cornerstone of fairness and uniformity," said O'Hearn. "We feel that the current assessments are fair and uniform and consistent with the property law and are prepared to vigorously defend them."

The issue will move into the state supreme court this Friday in Watkins Glen.

Walmart and Inergy were contacted for this story, but nobody from either company returned our calls by airtime.