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Sunday, 29 November -0001 19:03

Saratoga Springs City Council for September 4

By | News

SARATOGA SPRINGS – With the 2012 meet at Saratoga Race Course and the Labor Day holiday behind them, it was back to work for the Saratoga Springs City Council, who met for a rather contentious first meeting for the month the evening of September 4.

 

The highlight of the evening was Accounts Commissioner John Franck’s blistering 56-minute-long presentation regarding his department’s alleged involvement with condominium assessment inequities. Franck, who also holds the position of city assessor, was accused along with Assistant Assessor Tony Popolizio of unfairly levying significant reductions on taxable property owned by people with connections to Franck by an employee in his own department. That employee, Mary Zlotnick, is currently on paid leave with the city.

Franck’s tone remained defiant through the majority of the presentation, as he took time to explain the legal definition of condominium associations, along with explaining Section 339-y of the Real Property Law which dictates the assessment of condos. The section says it requires assessors to assess condos differently than traditional homes and that condo assessments are not based on individual unit sale prices, but rather the value of that development as a whole. He reiterated that the suspended city clerk along with members of the assembled media did not completely comprehend the process involved with assessing condos.

According to Franck, condo values were set before he was elected to office by a hired company. The accounts department was unable to correct the value on its own, as it is illegal for them to do so on the basis of “selective reassessment.”

Franck also took issue with the media’s coverage of the condominium assessments over the last four years, including that his name or title was mentioned 77 times relating to unfair condominium assessments between the one-month span of January to February 2009. The commissioner took specific exception to a more recent Times Union article, which featured a picture of the home he owns on North Broadway. He brought up other prominent members of his own department who had received property assessments, including Deputy Accounts Commissioner Sharon Kellner-Chille, asking why their homes had not made the front page.

The council would also vote 3-2 along party lines regarding the motion to dismiss the private company currently providing the city’s human resource services. As a result of the vote, Pinnacle Human Resources will see its contract terminated within the next 30 days.

Commissioner Franck said Pinnacle violated their contract, and took greater exception to the $50,000 of an allotted $75,000 paid to the company since July for only three days of work each week. The three democrats passed the resolution, with Mayor Scott Johnson and Public Works Commissioner Skip Scirocco voting against it, saying there was no interim plan for human resource services.

The meeting opened quietly enough, with a public hearing regarding an amendment to Chapter 175 of the City Code entitled “Property Maintenance.” The amendment, as explained by the city’s Public Safety Commissioner Chris Mathiesen, is directed at property owners who fail to correct code violations in a timely fashion. Those property owners could see the city take the necessary action to correct it, while a lien could be put on the property to recuperate the cost associated. The matter was tabled for a future city council meeting.

Mayor Scott Johnson held the third and final public hearing regarding the Capital Program for 2013-2018, though the first two preceded an informal presentation of the numbers and project priorities.

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Property Transactions

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