Kent: Town Considers Revaluation
The town assessor told the Kent Town Board on Sept. 19 that the municipality is overdue for a revaluation of the property values that determine school tax bills.
According to The Putnam County Times, some residents saw dramatic increases in their Carmel school district tax bills this year. A representative from the New York State Office of Real Property Tax Services said this was in part because towns in the district typically perform reassessments every year, while Kent has not.
A reassessment would not increase the amount of taxes collected by the district, which is determined by the size of its budget and the levy. But it would change individual tax bills. “Short of doing a reassessment, there’s no way to get everybody back to where they should be,” said Town Assessor Seth Plawsky.
One resident dismissed the idea that Kent was paying more because it hadn’t done a reassessment. “If all other things are equal, if the school board raises its tax levy by 1.9 percent, you would expect your tax bill to go up by 1.9 percent. Mine went up by 10.2 percent,” said Cliff Narby. “The Office of Real Property Services has done a very poor job of appraising how well the assessors in those other towns did their assessment and, as a result, the Town of Kent taxpayers are being screwed. We’re going to subsidize the other towns.”
Stormville: Prison Guard Sentenced
A federal judge sentenced a former guard at the Green Haven Correctional Facility to three months in prison for punching an inmate and lying about it.
Taj Everly, 33, of Cortlandt Manor, had asked for probation, according to The Journal News. Everly, who pleaded guilty to depriving the prisoner of his constitutional rights, had been facing a sentence of 2 to 2½ years.
The assault took place in May 2020. Everly’s attorney argued that the inmate had made a veiled threat, and that when the guard saw him later in the day he decided to “preemptively send a message to Mr. [Eion] Thom that attacking him would be a bad idea.” He then “panicked and concocted a story that Thom hit him first.”
Six months earlier, Everly had been slashed in the head by another prisoner. His lawyer said he was working under extreme stress and had acknowledged wrongdoing. But a federal prosecutor said Everly came clean only after learning there was bodycam footage of the assault.
Carmel: Group Sues to Save Historic Home
Apreservation group has sued New York City in an effort to save a historic home that has fallen into disrepair.
Friends of Belden House, chaired by Ann Fanizzi of Carmel, filed the lawsuit in Putnam County Court against the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, which owns the building, saying it failed to use $2.9 million committed by the state in 2006 for restoration. Instead, the DEC plans to demolish the 18th-century structure.
New York City bought the building in 1896 when it constructed a nearby dam, using it as an office and custodian’s residence until the 1990s. In 2005, after Putnam County said it would not provide funds to restore it, New York City said it would rehabilitate it for office space.
Fanizzi told The Putnam County Times that after the financial crash of 2007 “the money went away.” She said restoration would now cost closer to $5 million.
Westchester: County Offers Lanternfly Vacuums
The Westchester County Parks Department said on Sept. 26 it had purchased 10 high-powered vacuums to lend to municipalities to suck up spotted lanternflies, invasive pests that showed up in the Hudson Valley last year after first being seen in Pennsylvania in 2014.
According to The Journal News, the federal government has said that anyone who encounters a spotted lanternfly should kill it.
Peekskill: Man Goes Missing
Police continue to search for a 22-year-old Peekskill man who disappeared in August.
Jason Sacasari Martinez left his wallet and credit cards behind when he departed for work at ShopRite on Route 6 in Cortlandt Town Center. His brother, Steve, said there was a ping from Martinez’s phone from Oregon Road.
Steve thought perhaps his brother was on Oregon Road at the cemetery where his mother, Manuela Martinez, is buried. She died in April 2021. “It happened during COVID and it was a very difficult time for us,” he told the Peekskill Herald. “I wasn’t conscious at that time as to how hard it was.”
In early September, forest rangers searched 1,000 acres in Depew Park and Blue Mountain Reservation because Martinez was known to hike there.
Anyone who has seen Martinez, or has any information, is asked to call the Peekskill Police at 914-737-8000.
Behind The Story
News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.