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Lakewood board prepares tax reimbursement to mall

LAKEWOOD — With an amount still being calculated, the Lakewood Village Board of Trustees Monday began preparing its portion of reimbursement to the Chautauqua Mall for property tax overpayment.

The mall filed a lawsuit saying it paid too much in taxes from the village the town of Busti, Chautauqua County and the Southwestern Central School District.

The State Supreme Court approved a reassessment for the years 2020, 2021, and 2022, and all four taxing jurisdictions will have to pay a portion of the reimbursement. Court records show that 50 percent of reimbursement is due by the middle of December and the remaining 50 percent is due by Jan. 5, 2024. The mall is located at 318 Fairmount Ave., Lakewood, but also is located within the SWCS district, the county, and the town of Busti.

The lawsuit has taken several years to complete, said Village Mayor Randy Holcomb.

“Each taxing jurisdiction will have a refund for the three years, and that refund could be paid 50 percent now and 50 percent by 2024. It’s a completion of a long-time assessment lawsuit. It’s (the suit) good to come to a close,” Holcomb noted.

Holcomb added that the reimbursement amount will be known at the board’s next meeting on Dec. 12.

Court records show that in 2020 the mall’s assessment was $9,260,000, and that amount was reduced to $5,772,000. In 2021 the assessment was $9,260,000, and it was reduced to $5,592,000, and in 2022 the assessment was $9,260,000, and it has been reduced to $4,965,000.

In other business the board approved the state contract for its Water Quality Improvement Project to complete the Grandview Stormwater Management Project.

“The Grandview Stormwater Management Project is a great project because it begins at the top of village, and this (project) is trying to alleviate the water problem on Route 394 (Fairmount Avenue), and the way down to Route 394,” Holcomb noted.

The village has partnered with The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy to address flooding and sediment an nutrient runoff near Fairmount Avenue and the eastern portion of the Grandview development that will have a positive impact on the environmental health of Chautauqua Lake.

Taylor Weston, a CWC project manager updated the board about the project.

“What this project would propose to do is create approximately 100,000 cubic feet of storm water detention on the north side of the Grandview subdivision to reduce flooding on (Route) 394,” Weston said.

Weston also noted that the project, once completed, will improve water quality, and promote better traffic flow and economic development.

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