For Immediate Release
June 18, 2009
Amherst Town Hall
Williamsville, NY

For more information, contact Councilman Daniel J. Ward at 444-5326


Today, Daniel J. Ward, Amherst Town Councilman, called upon the New York State Attorney General to conduct a thorough and comprehensive investigation into the Town of Amherst’s revaluation program. In a letter to the Hon. Andrew Cuomo, Ward cited a litany of deficiencies with the unpopular reassessments recently conducted in Amherst. “We have had citizens complaining all spring about wildly inaccurate and abusive assessments that are nowhere near the fair or actual market value of their homes. As a result this could lead to real property taxation increases by stealth,” said Ward. “People are outraged. This board policy and program is being sustained by at least three (3) board members, who personally profited immensely. As a result, this board can neither investigate itself, nor willingly fix the problem. We need an outside, independent, honest investigation to determine the facts of this sordid interlude, and finally straighten this mess out. I have full faith and confidence the Attorney General can do the job,” said Ward.
“The insider contacts and benefits are widespread. Some 3000 people of imminence or influence getting substantial assessment breaks based on who they are, not what their property is, is outrageous, if not criminal We deserve better,” said Ward.
“We have had abusive insider contact by councilmen - one going back to get more, and more assessment reductions to benefit himself to the point where his assessed valuation has risen less than $10,000 over 10 years, where comparables have gone up 8, 9, as much as 18 times. Another councilmember got so politically embarrassed, she called the town’s appraisal firm to have her assessment arbitrarily raised in order to avoid further criticism and scrutiny. Another councilman, like the other two, already amongst the lowest of town elected officials’ in rate of dollar assessment per square foot, is taking the Senior Star tax exemption for his in-law, in his house, for a substantial tax break. Two other councilmen who live in the oldest, smallest, and most modest homes are paying among the highest rates of assessment, for no good reason.”
“Then the ordinary citizens start there and go upward,” said Ward. “We need someone who is going to clean house here, not just continue to cover up. The Attorney General is most capable of this and I hope he undertakes it.”