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Suffern and Ramapo Win Tax Case Against Suffern’s Top Taxpayer, Major Win for Residents

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SUFFERN, NY – The Town of Ramapo and the Village of Suffern announced a major victory in a tax assessment case that will help save their residents a significant amount of money. The legal case centered around the old Novartis Pharmaceutical facility; a 167-acre property located on Old Mill Road in Suffern, as well as other parcels located in Suffern and Montebello. The combined properties make them the top taxpayer in Suffern and one of Ramapo’s biggest taxpayers.

Suffern Partners, LLC, which purchased the complex in 2017 for $30 million, had been challenging its nearly $4.8 million assessment since 2019. The company maintained that the total assessment of the combined parcels should be $696,000. The proposed reduction in 2020 sought by Suffern Partners, LLC, from $41 million to $6 million for the fair market value of the parcels, equals an 85% reduction in its assessment. If the company was successful in its challenge, it would result in $1.36 million in refunds that would have to be spread to the tax bills of other Ramapo residents, thereby leading to a significant tax increase.

In March 2020, the Town became aware that Suffern Partners, LLC had entered into a contract to sell the property the property for a whopping $55 million, yet the company continued to bring its tax grievance complaint against the Town. Suffern Partners, LLC failed to notify the Town of the impending sale, which it was required to do. Instead, the company continued pursuing legal action against the Town, even though the contract price was approximately $14 million higher than the current market value of $41 million.

When the Town discovered the existence of the sales contract and the company’s willful neglect to duly notify the Town, its attorney Dylan C. Harris of Lewis & Greer, P.C., filed a motion to dismiss Suffern Partners, LLC’s lawsuit. The Town recently received a signed stipulation of discontinuance, which is tantamount to an acknowledgment by Suffern Partners, LLC that it failed to comply with the NYS Real Property Tax Law and effectively ends the company’s legal challenge once and for all.

“This is a huge victory for the average taxpayer in Ramapo and Suffern,” said Ramapo Supervisor Michael B. Specht. “Suffern Partners, LLC exhibited egregious behavior throughout this process and acted in bad faith as they attempted to save millions in taxes that they legally owed. This is a company that tried to exploit the system without any regard for the adverse economic impact it would have on our Town and Village residents, and we are pleased that justice prevailed. Ramapo taxpayers should never have to foot the bill for a big business that seeks to gain a financial advantage through underhanded and unpardonable means.”

“We are very grateful that this unfortunate matter has finally come to an end and that the positive outcome will benefit taxpayers throughout Suffern and Ramapo,” said Suffern Mayor Edward Markunas. “By working together with the Town of Ramapo to fight on behalf of our residents against a greedy company that attempted to take advantage of the system through a frivolous legal action, we were thankfully able to score a big win for the people of Suffern and Ramapo and protect our taxpayers’ pocketbooks.”

Photo credit Village of Suffern/Facebook.

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Government

“Restaurant Week” By Rockland County Executive Ed Day

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This week we welcome back “Restaurant Week” to Rockland County and the Hudson Valley. I am thrilled to see this event returning as we continue on the road to recovery as it spells very good things for our future.

Running until May 23rd it is a great opportunity to try the food at some of our great local restaurants at a price that won’t break the bank. Participating restaurants are offering three-course dinner menus for $35.95 and lunches for $25.95.

And now that restaurants in New York are able to operate at 75% dining capacity and with all capacity restrictions being lifted on May 19th, we are making real progress at getting back to a new normal. I encourage residents to support our local businesses, especially our restaurants, who were all affected by the pandemic.

With people now feeling more comfortable getting out and about, Restaurant Week is the perfect time to show our support for the restaurants that have been there for us when we needed them. Dining out will also give our local economy an extra boost as we in government aim to get more folks back to work.

All this should lead to further improvements in the local unemployment rate which stood at 5.6% in March. Down from 6.4% in February and down from a high of 13.4% during the worst of the pandemic last April. Rockland is heading in the right direction and anything we can do to support restaurants will help.

Dining establishments are a key part of our local economy. 763 of these businesses employed more the 7,400 people prior to the pandemic. The number of employees dropped to just over 6,200 in the Fall of 2020, but the number of businesses remained relatively stable.

These numbers make it clear to me that this is an area that is primed for a full recovery and I look forward to doing my part to help it along by dining out and enjoying some great local food. And if you are not comfortable dining out just yet, that’s okay too, this year many restaurants are also offering takeout options.

You can view participating Rockland restaurants and make your reservation here: https://bit.ly/3sB332Q

I hope to see you there!

*This is a weekly column by Rockland County Executive Ed Day.

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Assemblyman Schmitt Presents State Assembly Proclamation to Heroic Stony Point Police Officers

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STONY POINT, NY – Assemblyman Colin J. Schmitt (Stony Point) joined by Stony Point Town Supervisor Jim Monaghan recognized three Stony Point Police Officers; Vincent Agovino, John Ferrara, and William Mari.

They were formally presented with a New York State Assembly Proclamation, by Assemblyman Schmitt, for their heroic efforts in March when they ran into a burning house to save the lives of children who were inside. (Photos at the end of the video)

Video of the ceremony below.

 

Each of these police officers received their own official Proclamations at the Stony Point Town Board meeting on, May 11, 2021, detailing their service of honor, courage, and personal sacrifice.

Supervisor Jim Monaghan, “Officers Vincent Agovino, John Ferrara, and William Mari are heroes. Their actions saved the lives of local residents and represent the very best of our local police department and it is great that Assemblyman Colin Schmitt joined the town board during police week to honor them.”

Assemblyman Colin J. Schmitt stated, “Today and every day we should be thanking law enforcement who put their lives on the line to protect our families and communities. Police Officers Vincent Agovino, John Ferrara, and William Mari are prime examples of what the badge stands for; honor. courage, sacrifice, and selfless service. These heroes were just doing their jobs, not looking for recognition, but they deserve this honor today. I am proud to officially recognize the heroes that live amongst us and thank them for their service.”

Video via Stony Point Facebook Live Stream – rocklandreport.com

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