March 9, 2013

Lewis mulls selling farm

ESSEX — Salim “Sandy” Lewis said he is looking at options for conveying most of the Lewis Family Farm for use as a nonprofit educational facility.

The farm is in legal dispute over property-tax assessment, which he and his attorneys have challenged for two tax years.

“The Town of Essex has put us in a position where they’ve used the (assessment) work of our guy,” Lewis said. “They did not come forward with paperwork. They are cribbing with ours.

“Now our guy says he’s too high. Unfortunately, this is in court.”

The Town of Essex has offered no comment on the lawsuit.

But Lewis’s legal dissection indicates further definition and application of agricultural and fire-district tax exemptions could be applied to the farm’s tax bill.

“There is no court date that I know of,” he said this week. “I think what will happen is there will be some further negotiation. Previous assessments were not made in good order.

“We’re considering selling the farm to several schools. We have spoken with them about this.

“We have received banal treatment from the taxing authorities of this community. That they would ramp our taxes as they have without so much as visiting this farm is a moral outrage.

“This town (Essex) might as well dissolve as far as I’m concerned.”

Lewis did not indicate a timeline for potential sale of additional farm property.

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