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December 11, 2016
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Property revaluation in Lumberland

GLEN SPEY, NY — “If you get a little note in the mail, we’re not doing a heavy assessment. We’re just checking,” Supervisor Nadia Rajsz said on April 9 in prefacing her announcement of a property revaluation that the town is planning to begin late this summer.

Rajsz said the town was not planning to spend a lot of money on the project either. “We’re not looking for a costly program. We have people in the office and we’ll do it section by section in August to check and compare with our inventory.”

Assessor Judi Flieger said the value of the town’s property inventory value dropped 8% last year.

Assessments are done by various percentages of market value by individual towns and cities. The state requires that properties be assessed at a uniform percentage of market value each year, but many municipalities go many years between updates of these values. Municipalities that follow state requirements receive partial compensation for these updates.

To get state payments a town has to begin with a full revaluation in the first year of a cycle, Rajsz said.

Lumberland assesses property at 100% of market value, which is “a credit” to Flieger, said Sharon Sparling, who is property appraiser.

“We’re the only town in Sullivan County at 100%,” Rajsz added.

As might be expected, Rajsz’s announcement was not met with universal approval. Richard Hotzler commented that “If any of the politicians had any backbone…” they would stop tax exempt organizations from “banking property that they don’t use.”

Flieger also announced the May 27 date for this year’s Grievance Day for property tax assessments before the town’s board of assessment review. She advised that people planning to grieve their assessments should do so in writing to allow her time to either recommend or argue the grievance.

Town assessment rolls close and may not be amended after July 1, which is the beginning of the new tax year.

Other business

In other business, the board heard grants writer Frank Schwarz announce that the town had been awarded a $50,000 grant through state senator John Bonacic’s office. The grant will fund safety concerns, energy conservation and records management.

Separately, the board approved the $805 purchase of a semi-automatic .223 caliber Colt Model LE6920 rifle for the town constables. Rajsz said the recent “active shooter” drill at the Eldred High School had put the rifle’s purchase, which was tabled several months ago, back on the agenda. “Hopefully, it will never be used,” she said.

In part, the board also: approved $1,500 for partial funding (with Highland) of a summer basketball camp at the high school; renewed the $16.23 per meeting compensation rates for the planning board and the zoning board of appeals; approved a $1,000 contract bid from John Traver for the summer river trash cleanup program and set a May 14, 7:15 p.m., date and time for a public hearing on proposed revisions to the town’s ethics law.

They also approved a proclamation of recognition for five Boy Scouts of Troop 102, who have completed requirements and will be formally named Eagle Scouts, at an April 27 ceremony at Camp Champion. The five are Lumberland residents Timothy Worzel, Jonathan Santoro, and Jared DeLeon and Highland residents Julian Gottlieb and Matthew Donnelly.