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Fri., Oct. 9
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Potsdam residential assessment hikes average 13 percent in reval


POTSDAM — The town’s first property revaluation in five years is nearing completion, and many property owners are not happy with what they have seen so far.

Property owners received their change of assessment notices over the weekend.

On average, residential property assessments went up 13 percent, to bring their values in line with the state’s equalization rate.

“Some people were overassessed, some people were under assessed,” town assessor James P. Snyder said.

Many owners are displeased with the change.

“We don’t agree with these overly large increases,” said Tracey Haggett-Sloan, president of the Town of Potsdam Taxpayer’s Association.

“My home assessment went up 19 percent, and the vacant lot next door went up 54 percent,” she said, adding that she has made no improvements to either property.

“At some point it just doesn’t make sense. Your property is depreciating,” she said.

Mr. Snyder visited all 5,500 Potsdam properties over the last eight months to gather the information he needed for the reassessment. He said he understands why people are upset, but hopes they will understand the process was fair.

“Trust me, I’m not out to get anybody,” he said.

Those who feel their assessment is inaccurate or unfair will be able to schedule a 15-minute meeting with Mr. Snyder from Monday to April 26. Those who do will be able to argue why their assessment should be lowered.

The tentative assessment roll will be submitted on May 1. At that point, Mr. Snyder will no longer have any say over what happens. Those who still wish to challenge an assessment will have to take it before the town’s Board of Assessment Review on May 28.

The roll will take effect on July 1. Anybody who wishes to challenge it at that point will have to take their case to court.

Francis H. Trombly, of Norwood, said he might have to do just that. The property where he lives nearly doubled in assessed value, from $172,000 to $327,200.

“They’re just unbelievable,” he said. “With this much here it would be worth going to court, I guess. I haven’t talked to anybody about it yet.”

Town Supervisor Marie C. Regan said the revaluation was done fairly.

“We know that James has been following the rules and the dictates he gets from the state,” she said. “People are never happy when a revaluation comes and their assessment goes up, but I’m confident in two things. One, that Mr. Snyder did the best he can and two, that people have plenty of chances to make their case.”

Higher assessments do not automatically mean higher taxes, Mr. Snyder said. If everyone’s assessment goes up, the burden will be spread evenly among all. But those whose rates go up by more than average will end up footing more of the bill.

Some property owners upset by the weekend announcement plan on attending Tuesday’s town board meeting at 7:30 p.m. to voice their concerns, according to Ms. Haggett-Sloan.

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