Editor, The Spotlight:
Last week in an offensive and irresponsible letter to the editor, Fred DiMaggio essentially accused the Town of Bethlehem, including the entire Town Board, of illegal acts. While his reckless letter borders on defamation, it was unfortunately in keeping with Mr. DiMaggio’s long history of false attacks. Mr. DiMaggio’s willingness to debase our town’s political discourse apparently knows no bounds.
Mr. DiMaggio claimed that the current reassessment project “played favorites” by “rewarding incumbent office holders at the expense of nearly all of us citizens.” What is the basis of this startling accusation? Mr. DiMaggio’s charge is based solely on the fact that three of the five members of the Town Board did not receive an assessment increase, whereas Mr. DiMaggio personally received an increase of 8.3% (the assessment on his property was increased by $25,600 to an estimated value of $334,700 – which is not unreasonable for a 2,582-square-foot house in Slingerlands). Mr. DiMaggio’s oddly self-centered conspiracy theory ignores the fact that a majority of Bethlehem homeowners – 52% – saw no increase in their preliminary assessments. Thus, the ratio of Town Board members who did not receive an assessment increase is exactly what this figure would predict.
Mr. DiMaggio’s line of “reasoning” is even more ludicrous given that the other two members of the Town Board, Councilwoman Julie Sasso and myself, saw the assessments on our properties go up by more than the 8.3% increase on Mr. DiMaggio’s property. The preliminary value placed on my house went up by 9%, while the assessment on the home owned by Councilwoman Sasso increased by 70%. These facts demonstrate the patent absurdity of Mr. DiMaggio’s wild charge that the reassessment “played favorites” for “incumbent office holders.”
While I would prefer to ignore this kind of baseless nonsense, the fact that Mr. DiMaggio is the chairman of the Bethlehem Republican Committee and a twice-unsuccessful candidate for town-wide elected office compels this response.