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Town of Porter considering townwide reevaluation of properties

Fri, Mar 18th 2022 11:00 am

Current assessment stands at 61%

Staff Reports

The Town of Porter disclosed Monday it is now considering a full reevaluation of properties in the town, including those in the Village of Youngstown.

“We know it has to be done,” Town Supervisor John “Duffy” Johnston said. He explained that, with neighboring towns in Lewiston and Wilson also considering property reevaluation – and the expected impact on county and school district taxes once such a project is complete – the town felt it needed to address the issue of equalization.

“The equalization rate, that’s what it’s for,” said Gary Drake of the New York State Office of Real Property Tax Services. Drake visited the board meeting with Town of Porter Assessor Lena Villella to discuss the matter further.

Drake said the primary reason to perform a reassessment is that of achieving full equity within the town. “The longer you go without reevaluating all the properties, the more inequity creeps in. “

Last done in Porter in the years 2005-06, the town’s current assessment rate stands at 61% of properties, versus the ideal of 100%.

“If you don’t reevaluate every so often, losing equity just keeps getting magnified,” Drake said. He noted the state’s recommendation is that reassessments should be done every five years. “I like to see towns get on a cycle” for this.

Villella said the changes on the town’s inventory of buildings, residences, farms, etc., has changed significantly over the past 15-plus years and, likewise, needs updating.

“It’s so far removed from your last inventory it’s really not as it should be,” she said. “There’s so much that’s changed that you don’t know about. When you do a reassessment, you look at every single property … you physically look at every single property.

“This inventory is so old, a lot of that’s not right.”

Villella said an inventory of the town’s land table, vacant and otherwise, likewise needs to be done.

She said reassessments are not based on a sale of a particular property. “You can’t reassess just because something’s sold.’ … We want to equitably distribute the valuation, what is that house worth, what is the house next door worth.”

She said the goal of reassessment is to “correct the inequities.”

Drake said a town’s tax rate would go down when its full taxable value (of properties) goes up – thus the need for reassessments. He said the focus needs to be on the amount of money a town would need to raise by property taxes – the levy.

“If that levy doesn’t change, and the assessor adds millions and millions of dollars in assessed value, the tax rate has to come down – it’s just simple math,” he said, and added equity is a key factor the county and school districts look at when determining the levy in a particular municipality.

It was learned the anticipation reevaluation effort would encompass some 3,500 parcels townwide when performed, including those in the Village of Youngstown.

The matter was left with the board approving a request for proposals process to enlist a municipal appraiser. Johnston said there could be potential grant money available as the town moves forward on the effort.

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