A former candidate for Binghamton mayor and the city's former Director of Planning, Housing, and Community Development has published an article accusing Mayor Rich David of using his status to reduce his property tax bill.
"When I reviewed the data made available online by Broome County, I was shocked to learn that the assessment of Mayor David's primary residence downtown, a mixed-use building with two commercial tenants on the first floor, was reduced significantly from 2017 to 2018, from $179,000 ti $131,300. The lower assessment will effectively reduce the Mayor's property tax bill by 27-percent," said Abdelazim to council members during Wednesday's City Council meeting.
"I recognize that every property owner has the right and opportunity to grieve their assessment consistent with state laws. However, based on my extensive research, which included FOIL requests and conversations with state officials, it’s clear that Mayor David chose the least transparent way to do it. He quietly negotiated his assessment reduction behind closed doors with the City Assessor under suspect circumstances," added Abdelazim.
The City Assessor attended the meeting and responded to the claims to council members.
"I have had the same process for years. I don’t understand what the author's confusion is because during my time in that administration we had countless meetings and staff meetings and procedural meetings everybody knows what my processes are. I have no reason to not provide any information that I have passed," said Scott Snyder, City of Binghamton Assessor.
In the end, Abdelazim called on the council members to "commit to a bipartisan and transparent review of this incident, determine if any laws were broken by the Mayor or the Assessor, and open up a more substantive community dialogue about the broken assessment system in our city."
The council members did not comment on the claims.