Previous Rotterdam assessor says deficit not his mistake

Former Rotterdam Town Assessor John Macejka said an assessment error in 2007 that resulted in a $1.4 million deficit was not his fault, as some town officials have claimed.

The town comptroller and county finance [office] were aware of totals being off, said Macejka. "It wasn't a mistake that someone just uncovered last week or four hours before they voted on the tax levy."

Following the county's budget vote in late December, current Town Assessor Craig Surprise pointed to numbers provided by Macejka in 2007 as the reason for the levy.

"John Macejka underestimated what it was that he gave to the county, and that work was dated November of 2007," said Surprise.

Macejka said a number of county and state officials, as well as Rotterdam Supervisor Steve Tommasone, knew about the incorrect values soon after they were discovered.

Macejka also said, at the time, everyone agreed that the town would make up for the mistake in the next year. Therefore, he said, the one-time tax increase was no surprise.

Tommasone said he doesn't know how the mistake happened, but he is ready for the town and county to move forward.

"I'll let the people decide for themselves what they think happened," Tommasone wrote in an e-mail. "I want to believe there was an honest mistake made, but it's corrected now."

Taxpayers will have to make up for the assessment error with a one-time increase this year of between $125 to $130 for a typical home assessed at $150,000. The tax was approved at the Schenectady County Legislature's Monday, Dec. 22, budget meeting.

The error came about as the town was completing its revaluation for the first time in 50 years. The number submitted to the county tax roles in 2007 came in under the final assessed value of the town, leading to the deficit.

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