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Speculator, NY ,

Village lost rights to Oak taxes

Friday, August 29, 2014 - Updated: 8:22 AM


Express News Staff

SPECULATOR -- A spirited debate took place at the Aug. 25 meeting of the Speculator Village Board of Trustees when attorney for the village, Katie Smith, tried to explain why Clerk Bonnie Page had to write off the $9,769 owed to the village by Oak Mt Ski Center.

Smith said the village lost all rights to claiming the back taxes because it failed to make a claim at the time the property was foreclosed on by the county for non-payment of taxes owed to the county.

At the time the county foreclosed, Speculator did not have a policy in place where the county would make the village whole on its share of back taxes and proceed to take action if necessary to collect the taxes owed to it and the municipality.

In 2011, Speculator did make arrangements with the county to have the county make it whole for back taxes owed and collect back taxes for the village.

Trustee Robert “Shorty” Hoffman became agitated and at first demanded the village should have the attorney general look into the matter.

Smith explained that according to NYS Real Property Tax Law, that would be a useless endeavor because the attorney general cannot overrule law. No law was broken.

Mayor Letty Rudes attempted to mollify Hoffman’s displeasure by reminding him that prior to 2011, the village board preferred not to sue any of its residents for unpaid taxes, choosing to just remind them until they paid up. Rudes said, “No one on the board ever wanted to foreclose on a resident.”

It was at this point that Hoffman said, “The village board was a bunch of idiots who dropped the ball.”

Smith shot back, “That was very rude of you.”

This seemed to calm Hoffman down some and the board moved on to other business.

Those on the board at the time the county foreclosed on Oak Mt. included Mayor Neil McGovern and trustees Cheryl Paestella, Del Cook, Letty Rudes and Munro Collie Smith, who completed the term of McGovern when he was elected supervisor of Lake Pleasant. Gerry Feisinger was the attorney for the village.

It was on March 6, 2009, that the Industrial Development Agency (IDA) purchased Oak Mt. Ski Center with a bid of $600,000 at auction, the only bid received.


Two bids were received on the purchase of a 20-foot flag pole and flag to be erected in front of Village Hall.

Carrot-Top Industries, Hillsborough, NC, bid $620. Boni Signs, Piseco, bid $580.

The board approved purchasing the pole and flag from Boni Signs.

The Village Board will next meet Monday, Sept. 8, starting at 7 p.m. in Village Hall.


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