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Important questions remain

By DAVE COLAVITO
Posted 11/23/21

Unanswered questions over events at the Town of Liberty’s 11/2/21 Board of Assessment Review (BAR) invite speculation about truthfulness and competency of Sullivan County Attorney Michael …

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My view

Important questions remain

Posted

Unanswered questions over events at the Town of Liberty’s 11/2/21 Board of Assessment Review (BAR) invite speculation about truthfulness and competency of Sullivan County Attorney Michael McGuire, and Sullivan County Legislature Chairman Robert Doherty.

The county transferred the Adult Care Center (ACC) in December 2020 to a private Local Development Corporation (LDC) from tax-exempt county ownership. In the process, however, it indemnified the LDC and, according to its 9/28/21 press release, paid the LDC’s 2021 $226,000 school tax for which, according to Doherty, a third party had volunteered to make the county whole. He went on to state “It’s a win-win—county taxpayers won’t be on the hook for this, and the Liberty Central School District will have an unexpected $226,000 more to educate our children.” Yet barely a month later McGuire and Doherty arrived at the BAR, unannounced according to witnesses.

Written statements from town officials present claim McGuire demanded, without documented justification, a retroactive property tax exemption for the ACC, now in LDC ownership. And though McGuire, according to those officials, insisted he and Doherty were there by invitation from the town, the officials say that isn’t true.

Other unsettling matters remain.

Is the county, in fact, going to be made whole? If so, why were Doherty and McGuire even at the BAR pressing for an ACC exemption?  

If the county isn’t going to be made whole, and taxpayers remain on the hook, does the ACC now qualify for an exemption after being transferred from tax-exempt county ownership?

If it does, why didn’t McGuire and Doherty make proper arrangements beforehand, instead of placing taxpayers in this position by insisting, after the fact, on an exemption for a property the county no longer owns? And, not least, what will Doherty tell us next about that $226,000 he said would be available for the children?

Dave Colavito lives in Rock Hill, NY.

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