What work State Rep. DebraLee Hovey (R-112) and her husband Paul Balsano did or didn't do to the basement of their ranch at 296 Fan Hill Road became a hotly contested campaign issue last November.
Assessor Elizabeth Duffy recently added a bedroom and a full bathroom to their assessment after a neighbor complained that Hovey's husband made improvements to their basement without reporting it and paying taxes on it.
The Oct. 31,2009 assessment said the ranch had two bedrooms and one full bath. The net assessment was $184,380. Now the field card says there are three bedrooms and two full baths. The total valuation is $309,000 and the net assessment is $216,300.
During the election, Hovey strongly denied that her basement was finished. Patch left her a message asking if she plans to appeal her new assessment, but the call was not returned by press time.
Hovey and Democratic party challenger, Town Councilwoman Michele Mount, were fighting hard down the stretch in last November's race when the Democratic Town Committee issued a press release on the basement dispute in the final week.
DTC Chairwoman Patricia Ulatowski led town Democrats in demanding that Hovey open her doors, and Hovey and her campaign officials denied her basement was finished, though she refused to allow an inspection.
The issue did not help Mount. Hovey easily won reelection, taking 62 percent of the vote.
The controversy was sparked when Patti Campbell, a neighbor of the legislator, had complained to the Building Department, contending that Balsano sectioned off the basement into three rooms and added a new bathroom without reporting it and paying taxes on the improvements.