Wayne Post
  • Computer error gives park owner big exemption

  • A computer glitch in the Arcadia Town Assessor’s office is to blame for a mobile home park owner receiving a larger exemption than was due to him for a number of years.

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  • A computer glitch in the Arcadia Town Assessor’s office is to blame for a mobile home park owner receiving a larger exemption than was due to him for a number of years.
    Town Assessor Larry Quinn said the mistake was brought to his attention by a local resident several weeks ago. The discrepancy showed Joe Alloco, owner of Martin’s Manufactured Housing Community, on Emmons Avenue off North Main Street in the village of Newark, received a 100 percent STAR exemption on the property’s school taxes in 2011 and 2012.
    Under the STAR program, eligible mobile home owners living within the confines of a mobile home park may apply for a STAR exemption through the park owner. The mobile home park owner receives the exemption on his or her school tax bill and by law must distribute the tax savings to the park tenants accordingly, usually through reduced lot rent, minus a mandated 2 percent processing fee.
    In 2012, Alloco received a school tax bill of $320.68 and a letter from Quinn stating he owed each tenant in the park a $188 reimbursement, he said. Alloco said he reimbursed every one of his tenants as advised by Quinn, never suspecting there was a problem with the bill.
    Quinn takes full responsibility for the mistake. In 2006 when the town performed a revaluation, Quinn said several commercial properties got hit hard — “too hard.”
    “It probably would have driven many of them out of business,” he added.
    Hit the hardest were the mobile home parks, Quinn said, so he worked with all the commercial property owners to determine a fair assessment for each. Quinn said the problem arose when he put the new lower assessments into the town’s computer system. A long time town assessor, Quinn said he assumed the system would calculate the exemptions correctly and, as in the past, if there was a discrepancy, he would receive an error message.
    As a result, Alloco received an $8,089.58 STAR exemption on his school tax bill in 2012 and an $8,112.64 STAR exemption on his 2011 school tax bill. In reality, the exemption should have been a little less than $4,000, Quinn said, and the tenants’ reimbursement should have been around $90 instead of $188.
    This doesn’t mean the school lost $4,000 in tax revenue, Quinn added, since all STAR exemptions are reimbursed to the school by the state. Quinn said Alloco paid his school taxes, but due to the mistake, he paid them to his tenants instead of to the school district.
    Once the mistake was brought to Quinn’s attention, he researched the matter and discovered he needed to adjust the exemption for each mobile home owner in the park to correct the error. Quinn said he next notified Alloco of the mistake and sat with him to show him exactly what happened.
    Page 2 of 2 - “The problem is people think [Alloco’s] getting the exemption. He is not,” Quinn said. “There was absolutely no wrong doing on his part.”
    Since blame for the mistake falls on the town, Quinn said, he can only go back one year to collect taxes owed. He is drafting a letter to be sent to the mobile home park tenants stating that they were over compensated, however, Alloco doesn’t intend to ask his tenants to give the money back. Alloco’s 2013 school tax bill will include an additional $4,000 charge to make up for the 2012 mistake, Quinn said. The school district will also have to refund the state about $4,000 that was received in error in 2012.
    A recent letter published in local newspapers shed light on the mistake and Alloco said unfairly attacked him. Alloco is owner of Arcadia Hills LLC and has come under fire since bringing forth a proposal and host benefit agreement to the Town Board for the development of a solid waste facility in the town. The letter by Lynn and Sharon Weimer of Newark suggested the school should opt to collect taxes already owed instead of accepting a scholarship for a landfill. Alloco argues he did in fact pay his school taxes — unfortunately the money was distributed to the wrong party.
    “The Wiemers should get the facts before writing false editorials,” Alloco said. “Attacking someone's integrity because you don't like the solid waste facility idea is clearly not the proper course.”
    Quinn is encouraging anyone who has questions about this matter to call him at his office at 331-3914.