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August 12, 2010

 

Homer begins delayed reassessment

By HOLDEN B. SLATTERY
Staff Reporter
hslattery@cortlandstandard.net

HOMER — Led by its new assessor, David Briggs, the town is moving forward with its first property reassessment since 2005.
The purpose of the reassessment is to provide equitable assessments for all properties throughout the town, including the village, based on current market value.
In May 2009 the Town Board pushed back a planned reassessment for 2010. Town Supervisor Fred Forbes said the board decided to postpone it as a result of declining market values for properties, general distrust for public officials at the time, the objections to a reassessment that was occurring in Cuyler and a desire to save money for the town.
Forbes said the Town Board voted to approve a reassessment for 2011 mainly because it is necessary to allow the towns of Homer and Scott to merge.
Members of a committee that researched the idea of consolidating the two towns are circulating petitions and hoping to make their proposal a referendum on election ballots this November in Homer and Scott. If the consolidation is approved, Homer and Scott would be merged to form one town on Jan. 1, 2012, Forbes said.
Homer’s reassessment is expected to take effect on July 1, 2011.
Forbes said state law requires the towns of Homer and Scott to have the same equalization rate to merge.
Scott’s equalization rate is 100 percent, and Homer’s equalization rate is 83 percent.
When the Homer Town Board postponed its reassessment, Forbes predicted that property values would begin to rise, and they did, Forbes said Tuesday. The town’s equalization rate rose from 80 percent in 2009 to 83 percent in 2010, he said.
Briggs became the town’s assessor July 1. The Town Board hired him in June at a salary of $29,650 a year, Forbes said. Briggs will charge the town an additional $30,000 for the 2011 reassessment, Forbes said.
The town previously employed the Cortland County Real Property Services to do its reassessments, and Nedra Griswald was its assessor. The town paid the county $29,650 a year for the service, Forbes said.
The town hired Briggs after Cortland County officials informed the town that they did not have enough staff members to do the town’s 2011 reassessment, Forbes said.
“They said they didn’t have the manpower, so we had to go elsewhere,” he said.
The town considered offers from other assessors who would charge more than Briggs. One offered to do it for $85,000 and another offered to do it for $210,000, Forbes said.
This week, Briggs and his employees plan to begin the first phase of the reassessment project.
Four trained data collectors will begin visiting properties in the village this week, according to a news release from the town.
Wearing identification with photographs and Briggs’ signature, they will verify existing property data, add any omitted data, delete any incorrect data and if requested by the owner, inspect the interior of the residence, the release states.
Briggs said the tentative assessment roll will be completed in May, and the final assessment roll will be completed July 1.
Prior to that, the town will notify property owners March 1, so they can discuss any problems, Briggs said.
Property owners will receive their school taxes with the new assessments Sept. 1, 2011, and their town and county taxes on Jan. 1, 2012, Briggs said.
A public information meeting will be held in the near future to explain all phases and the timing of the reassessment, according to the release.
Property owners can who have questions about the reassessment can call Briggs at 607-753-1232 in the afternoons.

 

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