Store gets assessment chopped

GLOVERSVILLE – The city has reached a settlement with Price Chopper that lowers the assessment on the supermarket chain’s city store by more than $300,000.

As a result, the city owes the grocery business nearly $14,000, according to city officials.

The settlement, which was unanimously approved by the Common Council last week in a resolution, changed the assessment from the previous value of about $3.9 million to $3.6 million – a difference of $324,225 – for 2012 and 2013.

City Assessor Joni Dennie notified the council prior to its vote that the assessment change will require the city to pay Price Chopper $13,948 for taxes previously paid.

“They contested our assessment and it had to go to the [state] Supreme Court,” Dennie said. “It was in court for two years and we had to leave the assessed value at what it was, at $3.9 million, until the court case was settled. Now we have to go back to 2012 and 2013 to do a refund on the over-assessed property.”

The resolutions states the city has been in assessment review litigation with Price Chopper Operating Co. and retained the law firm of Hacker Murphy.

“[Price Chopper] has been challenging their assessments in the entire Capital District,” Mayor Dayton King said. “Rather than taking this through a lengthy court process the council and I decided after consulting an outside attorney this would be in the city’s best interest going forward.”

According to the resolution, Cathy L. Drobny, who was the attorney representing the city, recommended a settlement which they feel is “fair and equitable, and which will eliminate uncertainty of outcome.”

The resolution said the settlement will save the city substantial attorney’s fees, expert consultant fees, expert consultant costs and court costs.

“Sometimes the cost of litigation isn’t worth it,” Drobny said this morning about her recommendation. “It’s easier to settle and compromise than it is for the city to prepare a trial and go to court, but that doesn’t mean the assessment was wrong. I believe the reduction was less than 10 percent.”