In New York the timing of real property assessments and the “grievance” process are set by state law. Despite the current crisis, the state has not changed the dates this year, which means that notices of change of assessment are in the mail now.
We at the Town of Lockport recognize that the timing couldn’t be worse, but feel it would be even worse to not give the residents the customary time between when the notices are mailed and grievance day.
For many years the Town of Lockport has worked hard to maintain a 100% equalization rate by doing an annual re-valuation. We have done so again this year. This simply means that the Town is assessing your property at its actual fair market value.
The work for this year’s re-valuation was completed “pre-crisis” and was done by reviewing sales from July 2018 through June 2019. Most residents do not follow real estate sales trends until it’s time to sell their property, but real estate prices in Lockport have been rising substantially. Therefore, a thorough review of the whole town was necessary, and almost everyone will see an increase in assessed value.
Please remember, if everyone’s property is assessed at fair market value, everyone pays their fair share of property taxes.
When looking at the assessment of your property, please review recent sales of similar comparable properties. Take some time and look at our town website: www.elockport.com. We normally don’t recommend using sites like Zillow, Trulia or Realtor, but those sites often have interior images of past listings which you may find informative.
Keep in mind, the assessor’s job is to determine a fair market value of your property, based on recent closed sales. So, before you pick up the phone to call and express your frustration, ask yourself if you can get that amount if you were to sell your house today!
We understand that the current crisis leaves a great deal of uncertainty for the future and how it might affect property values, but the current assessment is based on 2019 property values. Staying at 100% equalization will continue help to keep the tax rates as low as possible and you will receive your full exemption amounts.
The town assessor normally meets in person with residents in April for “informal” meetings. This year all informal meetings will be done by telephone or email. You may email or call the assessor’s office to schedule a time for an informal meeting, or simply email the information you would like the assessor to consider to one of the addresses below. We will try to respond to as many informal requests as we can between April 20 and May 8th.
•Mail: Assessor’s Office, 6200 Robinson Road, Lockport, NY 14094
•Phone: (716) 439-9526
Unless the state changes the date, Grievance Day is May 26. Grievances can be mailed or emailed to the assessor’s office, and must be received in our office that day, by 5 p.m.
Jill Lederhouse is the Town of Lockport assessor.