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County assessor pays visit to H’dale


HILLSDALE–Property reassessment is under way here.

Suzette Booy, director of Columbia County’s Real Property Tax Department, who made a presentation regarding the reassessment process to the Town Board at its monthly meeting Tuesday, October 10, said the reassessment will impact school taxes in 2019 and property taxes in 2020.

Ms. Booy noted that Hillsdale’s last reassessment was in 2008, “So Hillsdale is overdue.” She added that the state recommends reassessments be conducted every 4-6 years because “inequities creep into the system.”

To date 150 parcels have been reassessed. According to Ms. Booy a common misunderstanding is that property owners measure square footage based on interior dimensions but county measurements are based on exterior dimensions. A county data collector visits properties to take pictures of all buildings, front and rear. The new photos are compared to existing photos from the previous assessment to determine whether there are upgrades. “If the new photos look the same there is no measurement.”

Ms. Booy added that appointments are not made for these visits and that the data collector does not enter any buildings.

Regarding properties that are posted with “no trespassing” signs or with entries blocked by gates, chains or ropes, Ms. Booy said that the data collector will not enter that property. Instead the county will send a letter to the owner requesting permission to enter the property. Properties posted with “no trespassing” signs limited to hunters are accessed by the data collector.

Board member Jill Sims-Elster expressed concern for the data collector’s safety. Ms. Booy responded, “Safety is a priority.” State troopers and county law enforcement share schedules of where the data collector is working.

Both Town Supervisor Peter Cipkowski and Ms. Booy stressed that the reassessment project is not an effort to increase town revenue. Ms. Booy said that the objective of the reassessment project is to insure “everyone is being assessed fairly. Some assessments will go up, some will go down.”

Hillsdale has 1,560 residential properties and approximately 75 commercial and farm properties to be reassessed. The projected timeline for the reassessments is to complete data collection on property upgrades, like garages and sheds, by April 1, 2018. The next phase is determining property valuations and mailing new assessments to taxpayers by March 1, 2019. Grievance hearings would be scheduled starting May 1, 2019.

In other business the town board unanimously voted to accept a bid of $12,719 to construct a multiple-car electric charging station at the town hall parking lot. The winning bid was submitted by Lilypadev, a Kansas company, which will contract out the work to Jerry Jennings in Columbiaville. Tom Carty, chair of the town Climate Smart Committee, reported that the bid was over $3,000 less than available funds in hand for the project. The project is funded by a grant from the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Mr. Carty said the project should be completed before the “ground freezes.”

The next Hillsdale board meeting is Tuesday, November 14 at 7 p.m.

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