East Hampton will hear reassessment pitch

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The East Hampton Town Board agreed this week to ask representatives from the state Offices of Real Property Services and the town’s tax assessors office to talk to the board early next year about a town-wide reassessment. If it ever takes place, it would be the first one in the town’s history.

On Tuesday morning Supervisor Bill McGintee asked the board if it would be willing to let the state and town tax officials explain the process of reassessment and the implications. Mr. McGintee prefaced his request by saying he didn’t want to ruin an otherwise harmonious meeting.

Reassessment has a been a politically toxic issue in East Hampton for decades and especially so since Southampton Town’s contentious and costly reassessment efforts in 2004 and 2006.

“It’s long overdue,” Mr. McGintee said of reassessment in East Hampton. “Other towns have gone through it painlessly. Some towns have gone through it with great pain because mistakes were made.”

Councilman Pete Hammerle noted that the state mandated that all towns update their assessment rolls more than 15 years ago and that eventually the town would be forced to do it.

The town’s tax assessors have repeatedly implored the town to do a reassessment. The process can cost millions of dollars but would rectify many inequities in the assessment system. Some of the town’s most valuable properties are likely under-assessed by millions of dollars,. Correcting that could bring down the taxes many other properties, they have said.

The board agreed to have the tax officials come to a board work session in January.

michael wright

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