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Acting assessor will start reviewing questioned rolls as FBI probes predecessor

West Seneca's new acting assessor will meet with local and state officials this week to begin reviewing the town's assessment rolls, Town Attorney Timothy J. Greenan said Monday.

Robert E. Hutchison, who was appointed Friday after the resignation of Town Assessor Edward J. Hummel, will meet with Town Special Counsel Gerald J. Whalen, Erie County Director of Real Property Joseph L. Maciejewski and Patricia Valvo of the New York State Office of Real Property Services to examine "what's going on with exemptions", Greenan said during the Town Board meeting.

Hummel is under investigation by the FBI for property valuations and alleged tax breaks to developers.

Greenan's announcement came after a town resident, Fran Lafferty, asked the Town Board what would happen if properties had been underassessed.

"People may be getting a (free) ride in their taxes," he said. "Will they be responsible for taxes they haven't paid?"

Greenan said if property owners were improperly assessed, "there are ways to go back and collect." He said the decision on how to handle it will be up to the new assessor.

In other business, the board denied a request for a special-use permit for property located at 555 Orchard Park Road to erect a 40-foot billboard.

In his resolution to deny the request, Councilman Chris Osmanski said another billboard would detract from the aesthetics of the town.

"I've been a long enemy of billboards in this town," he said. "I think it would have an adverse effect on the town."

e-mail: hjones@buffnews.com

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