I took notice of your article, “Tax consultant slams Bethel assessor; charges bias against weekenders, Jewish property owners.” While I cannot speak to the allegations of discrimination, even a quick Freedom of Information Law look at the books is enough to see why Brown must resign as Bethel tax assessor.
Brown costs the town a lot of money. There have been a number of legal actions against the town alleging unfair taxation. In preparing for litigation, the town hires its own independent appraiser. It appears that in the overwhelming majority of cases, this independent appraiser has found Brown’s assessments to be wildly off the mark and seemingly without regard for legal standard. What’s worse, the town board and board of assessment review have routinely decided to take a stand to defend their tax assessor, only later settling cases at the insistence of judges; settlements are almost never decided in the town’s favor, given that their own independent appraisers find Brown’s assessments to be so woefully wrong. The only winner is the town attorney, who keeps billing the town, all the while cheering on the board to fight.
Why are Marge Brown’s assessments so off the mark and why is she allowed to stay? Many townsfolk have alleged religious discrimination, cronyism, incompetence, planned incompetence and every combination thereof. We might never get to the bottom of this. Members of our town board would rather rush blindly to the aid of a failed tax assessor than open a formal, honest investigation based on facts.
Two members of the board of assessment review have resigned in the wake of these allegations. I hope to see Marge Brown and the rest of the board of assessment review turn in their resignations without delay.