Lakeside Property

Skaneateles Lake tax problem exposes error that finally ends up costing proprietor extra

A well known Skaneateles household got down to struggle the assessed property worth on a winery and as a substitute wound up with a better tax invoice.

The household of Michael J. Falcone, considered one of Syracuse’s most outstanding actual property builders, owns a mansion, a mattress and breakfast, an air strip and a working winery on Skaneateles Lake.

Falcone’s mansion was lately edged out as one of the crucial beneficial on the lake when John Mezzalingua paid $11 million for a mansion he intends to tear down and rebuild.

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After that sale, Skaneateles Assessor Mike Maxwell bumped up the assessed values of the lakefront properties owned by the Falcones, Robert Congel and others.

The worth on the Falcone household’s 9,800-square-foot house at 3074 W. Lake Street elevated from $four.5 million to $7 million in assessed worth.

The winery subsequent door elevated from $500,000 to a whopping $5.2 million.

The Falcones challenged each assessments in court docket.

The household and city officers settled one lawsuit – on the mansion, knocking the worth right down to $6.5 million.

The lawsuit on the winery property is extra difficult. Most of that property has an agricultural exemption. That lawsuit continues to be in negotiations.

The Falcones develop grapes on about 24 acres of 32-acres of in any other case vacant land. They see it as crop land whose worth ought to be capped underneath the state’s agricultural exemption.

The city agrees, however solely on the 24 acres. The opposite eight acres are buildable, vacant land on a Finger Lake ringed with essentially the most beneficial properties in Upstate New York.

If somebody determined to construct there, the market worth might be within the tens of millions, Assessor Mike Maxwell stated.

That’s why Maxwell elevated the assessed worth of the whole 32 acres from $500,000 to $5.2 million.

Not like different properties across the lake, a lift within the assessed worth of land with an agricultural exemption wouldn’t trigger a lot of a tax hike, he thought.

An agricultural exemption means taxes can solely be collected on a fraction of the $5.2 million, he stated.

Due to the exemption, Falcone was paying about $eight,200 in property taxes to the college district, the city and the county, data present.

For comparability, one other property value $5.2 million with lake entry would pay about $113,300 a yr in property taxes.

The lawsuits obtained the eye of Syracuse.com |The Submit-Commonplace.

The city assessor laid out the numbers in an interview.

On the winery:

About 24 acres of agricultural land was capped at $21,323 in assessed worth.

The eight.77 acres of vacant land that was not being farmed was assessed for $390,000.

That introduced the taxable worth of the land to $411,323

Maxwell stated he elevated the general assessed worth of to $5.2 million. He stated the taxable worth remained the identical.

However the numbers didn’t add up.

If the general evaluation elevated, why wouldn’t the tax invoice improve?

Maxwell went again to the books.

“You’re making me do plenty of math,” he joked in an e mail.

Maxwell stated he had made a mistake.

Maxwell stated the taxable worth turned out to be extra like $1.four million, not $411,000.

In the long run, meaning the property tax invoice will probably be about $30,500 relatively than $eight,200.

Except the Falcones win their lawsuit.

Michael P. Falcone, talking for the household, stated he was not at liberty to debate negotiations.

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Contact the creator: Michelle Breidenbach | mbreidenbach@syracuse.com | 315-470-3186

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