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Correcting misinformation on assessors

October 13, 2011

We would like to correct some misinformation disseminated by a property owner at a recent Town of Delaware Town Board meeting and subsequently printed in your newspaper. This person stated that he appeared before the board of assessors and “got a fair hearing on lowering his assessment.” He went on to state, “This is not possible with a single assessor,” citing an incident in another municipality where his assessment was not lowered.

The reason for the sole assessor not lowering his assessment could be because he did not provide the assessor with a good presentation of facts regarding his property, or possibly the assessment was fair and his perception of the value of his property was incorrect.

If a property owner is not satisfied with his assessment, our democratic system of government includes real property tax laws that provide processes for grieving assessments through the Board of Assessment Review, Small Claims Assessment Review and tax certioraris.

To state that receiving a fair assessment from a sole assessor “is not possible” is untrue. As assessors, we take an oath of office to “uphold the constitution of the State of New York, and... faithfully discharge the duties of the office of Assessor.”

The New York State Assessors’ Association’s Standard of Practice includes: “Perform all assessment duties in a manner consistent with statutory requirements, without advocacy for, or accommodation of, any particular interests, being factual, objective, unbiased and honest in all conclusions so as to assure an equitable distribution of real property tax.”

Another false statement by the property owner, “The single assessor is appointed to office for six years and no one can remove her,” is just wrong. There are laws in place to provide for removal from office any assessors who are not in compliance with standards of practice.

Renee Ozomek, President
Sullivan County Assessors’ Association
Monticello, NY