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Town-wide property value reassessment underway

— The Town of Cazenovia has begun the process for a town-wide reassessment of every property to be used on the 2014 tax rolls.

“We have started already, we’ve budgeted for it and we’ll have the new values in place in 2014,” said Town Supervisor Ralph Monforte.

The town explained the reassessment process and the reasoning for it in its December 2012 newsletter:

“Since properties in the Town of Cazenovia have not been assessed since 2004, we plan to conduct a town-wide reassessment of every property to be used for the 2014 tax roll. The purpose of the reassessment is to establish fair and equitable market values.

The State of New York measures how well each community’s assessments align with market values, comparing real estate sales to assessed values, and assigns an equalization rate. A 100 percent equalization rate indicates that assessments are consistently close to market value. The equalization rate for Cazenovia is currently at 85 percent. However, the equalization rate may be masking inequities in the tax roll; certain neighborhoods may be systematically overvalued, while others are undervalued.

As the reassessment program begins early in 2013, Brian Fitts, Cazenovia’s sole assessor, will mail information to each property owner, describing the reassessment initiative and asking for verification of data describing their parcel. Fitts will be working throughout 2013 to verify the property owners’ data sheets and to create models that predict value based on recent sales.

By early 2014, he will field verify the valuation models and generate new assessments for all. The new assessments will be sent to each property by March 1, 2014.

During March and April, all property owners will have the opportunity to meet with the assessor and discuss their new assessment. Grievance proceedings will be held in late May, to prepare for finalizing the tax roll by July 1, 2014.

There are many things that go into conducting a reassessment project and many questions that property owners may have. Brian Fitts is available to answer questions; contact him at 655-5637 or bfitts@townofcazenovia.org.

The New York State Office of Real Property Services has created a pamphlet that addresses frequently asked questions. It can be found on their website at tax.ny.gov/pdf/publications/orpts/reassessqa.pdf.”

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