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New Harrietstown assessments mailed out

March 1, 2010
By CHRIS KNIGHT, Enterprise Senior Staff Writer

SARANAC LAKE - Property owners in the town of Harrietstown got a first look at their new assessments over the weekend after town officials mailed out 2010 preliminary assessments on Friday.

The notices show the difference between a property's assessed value last year and its new assessment, along with estimated town, county and school taxes for 2010. The estimates are based on 2009 tax levies.

"These are hypothetical estimates," town Assessor Doug Tichenor said at a meeting on the reassessment last week. "It does not represent your actual future tax liability. Things change. Budgets change."

Based on those estimates, Tichenor said 281 residential property owners in the town will see their tax bills increase by more than $500, while 293 property owners will see their taxes drop by more than $500. There are 2,040 residential properties in Harrietstown.

The total assessed value of all property in the town will be $902 million this year, which represents a decrease of 6 percent from 2009 when the assessment roll, after being equalized to full value, was $940 million.

The value of residential and commercial property, including vacant land, in the town has dropped 8 percent. The value of state-owned land in Harrietstown increased 15 percent, based on the 2010 reassessment.

Tichenor said the town is currently at 86 percent of value, which represents the ratio between assessed value and what properties have been selling for in the town. The reassessment will bring the town to full value.

"The whole idea is to get the town to 100 percent value and to make sure, if we're at 100 percent, that we're equitably distributed between the various types of property in the town," Tichenor said.

The preliminary assessment notices provide information for property owners on how to make an appointment with Tichenor to discuss their reassessment.

"I'll meet with any and all property owners who want to come in," Tichenor said. "I'm giving plenty of time to sit down, speak with you, and bring any evidence you might have that pertains to your property's value. I'm not perfect. I'm willing to look at any appraisals you'd like to bring, and show you any information you'd like to see."

Tichenor said he reached back to Jan. 1, 2006 in order to develop a pool of comparable sales to conduct the reassessment.

"The market has pretty much flattened out," he said. "It was still on the rise at that time. The sales have slowed but they haven't dried up completely."

While some people think property values have been going down, Tichenor said that hasn't been the case.

"I've been watching for that but I haven't seen that," he said. "I've talked to plenty of appraisers and assessors, and I haven't seen a decline in market value in this area. What we have seen is a slowing of the incidence of sales."

Town Supervisor Larry Miller said the town has a very fair and equitable assessment process.

"If you get an assessment from Doug, and you're not happy with it even after you go and see him, you have the opportunity to go to the Board of Assessment review," Miller said. "We work very hard as a town board to make sure whoever we put on the BAR has no agenda. We pride ourselves on that. It's your neighbors, your friends and it's people who live in the community and pay taxes here."

The tentative assessment roll will be filed May 1. The grievance process will begin in late May with the first meeting of the BAR.

The final assessment roll has to be filed by July 1.


Contact Chris Knight at 891-2600 ext. 24 or



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