Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

July 25, 2013

Town nixes total revaluations

BY JOE OLENICK joe.olenick@lockportjournal.com
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — It’s very likely the Town of Lockport will not face a townwide property revaluation next year.

However, the town will continue its annual reassessment program, Supervisor Marc R. Smith said at a Wednesday Town Board work session. The annual program looks at a fraction of the properties in the town, usually about a quarter of the town’s 7,500 total properties each year.

Smith said Town Assessor Jill Lederhouse will stay in contact with the state, so things could change. But for now, the high cost and the annual revaluation negates the need for townwide revaluation, Smith said. The cost would have been about $60,000.

”There was a time when the cost wasn’t so high for us to do a revaluation,” Smith said. “When we started looking at the numbers, we just shook our heads and asked why would we do that if we are at 100 percent.”

The reason for the townwide reassessment was two-fold. First, a number of homes in the town were sold above current value. And second, the state would have paid $5 per parcel.

Properties have been reassessed each year, as part of the town’s attempt at keeping properties at a 100 percent equalization rate. In 2012, about 2,400 properties were reassessed. The last townwide revaluation was in 2009.

Keeping the equalization rate at 100 percent affects tax exemptions as Albany would force taxpayers to make up the difference if the rate falls below 100.

The equalization rate is the state’s measure of a municipality’s level of assessment. The rate is the ratio of total assessed value to the municipality’s total market value. So, the town’s property is assessed at full market value.

• In other town news, Crocker said the Niagara County Refuse District will be holding a household hazardous waste drop off event on Aug. 17 at the Town Hall on Dysinger Road. The drop off will run from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. and an appointment is preferred.

Appointments can be made online at www.rethinkyourwaste.com. Businesses, non-profits, schools, churches, agencies or out of county residents can call 434-6568 for more information. Town of Lockport residents with questions can contact Crocker at 478-0609.

Non-district county residents, such as people who live in Niagara, Cambria, Wilson and Newfane, can participate but must bring a check of $19 made payable to the Niagara County Refuse District.

Crocker said two drop off events were held earlier in the year, one in April in North Tonawanda and another in May in Niagara Falls. Both were successful, Crocker said, as about 30,000 pounds of material were collected at each site.

• Town officials will go through with demolishing a single-family home at 6918 Tonawanda Creek Road. Building Inspector Brian Belson said the house was inhabitable, as the foundation is crumbling and the back of the house is falling down.

The town will notify the owner, who has the right to tear the house down out of their own pocket. If the owner declines or fails to respond, which is expected to happen, the town will cover the expense.

Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.