By Karen Carr Keefe
Erie County Editor
It’s no longer a coming attraction. The new video about the town’s 2021 reassessment project arrived last week on the town’s website, Grand-island.ny.us.
This educational video may not be as exciting as the latest offerings on Netflix, but it should make life easier and take away some typical taxpayer fears of inequities in valuation of their property.
“Remember, this is a valuation project, not a taxation project,” is the mantra of the reassessment partnership between the town and the reassessment firm it has hired, Emminger Newton Pigeon & Magyar Inc.
ENPM President Joe Emminger says in the video that the goal of the assessment equity project is to establish uniform, fair and equitable assessment on all real property types. He also stresses that reassessment does not raise tax levies. What it does do, he says, is to provide an equitable redistribution of the property tax. He also says there are cases where your assessment can go up and your taxes go down.
Emminger and Town Assessor Judy Tafelski teamed up to produce the video so Grand Island taxpayers will not face unpleasant surprises when the notification of their property’s assessed value hits mailboxes in the first week of March. The new valuations will also be available online.
Emminger said about 100 people have already viewed the video. “That’s encouraging. People are going to the website,” he said.
“The purpose of the video is to just educate the residents on what the process entails and how we arrived at the market value estimate for their property, and more importantly, what they can do if they feel that their newest estimate figure is going to be too high and how they should go about challenging it,” Emminger said.
“I’ve talked to a couple of the residents … who actually thanked us for doing it. They found it very informative.” He said he believes Tafelski has also received some feedback. “We think it was well worth doing.”
Informal revaluation hearings are being done by phone, so people who are looking to challenge their assessment should call to set up a hearing time. The number is 716-559-1952. You can call any time after you receive your reassessment notice, up to and including March 18, to schedule the hearing. On that scheduled date, a staff member from ENPM will call the taxpayer and conduct the informal hearing.
If taxpayers want to submit additional information to support their claim and have it reviewed before their hearing, they can either email to [email protected], or they can mail it to: ENMP Inc., 2440 Sheridan Drive, Suite 100, Tonawanda, NY 14150.” People should mark the envelope to the attention of GI Assessment Project.
“We want people to go to the town website. We want them to review the sales,” he said. Taxpayers are encouraged look for comparable sale prices for properties similar to theirs, in their own neighborhoods. In the video, Emminger also explains that, for example, “We’re not taking sales of waterfront properties and applying them to other parts of the town.”
For questions about what you receive in your mailed notification, the number to call is 716-453-4300.
“We want to make it as easy; we want them to participate in the process and we hope to hear from as many people as possible,” Emminger said.
The direct web address for the YouTube video is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUeTtGZBSz8. Then click on “Reassessment Video.”
Alternatively, to find the video through the town website, go to: grand-island.ny.us and click on the words “read more” in the black box on the lower right of the home screen. Then click on the link at the bottom of the reassessment page that says, “LINK TO ASSESSOR’S PAGE.” Then click on the words ”Reassessment Project Video above the blue “contact us” box.