Revaluation Proposal Receives No Support

The Jamestown City Council unanimously voted down the proposal to allocate $285,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funding for a citywide revaluation. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

The revaluation of property in the city of Jamestown will not start this year.

On Monday, the Jamestown City Council unanimously voted down the proposal to hire GAR Associates for $285,000 for the reassessment of city property. During the meeting, no council members announced why they voted no on the proposal.

Following the meeting, Anthony Dolce, council president, said he believes people are against the property revaluation starting this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise in inflation. He said it’s never a good time to do a revaluation, but especially right now wouldn’t be a good time to raise property taxes for some homeowners.

“I think people were kind of torn on it,” he said.

Dolce said city officials understand a reassessment needs to happen at some point because one hasn’t been done since 2006. He said city officials will look into other options in the future, which might include hiring temporary employees to possibly do the reassessment in-house.

Dolce also said housing data from 2006 was going to be used if a revaluation was done this year. He said, when the reassessment is done, new housing data instead of 16-year-old information probably should be used.

After the meeting, Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist said his administration’s intent on proposing the revaluation this year was to try and do it at a lower cost because it will be more expensive in the future. He said city officials were trying to avoid “sticker shock” on how much a reassessment might cost once the state forces the city to perform one. State officials recommend that municipalities do a revaluation every five years.

Earlier this month during the council’s work session meetings, there had been discussions on if this was the best time to start a revaluation process in the city. According to Lisa Volpe, city assessor, if the city waits another year to do the reassessment, it might cost the city an additional $400,000 because of how old the housing data is on city properties.

“Because New York state only allows you to use data for six years, and since it’s been 15 (since the last revaluation), they were willing to let it go this year, but next year they’re going to want an entire project, and the previous project cost $1 million, but (GAR Associates) is able to get it down because New York is acknowledging what they now have,” she said.

Also earlier this month, Jeff Russell, At-Large councilman, asked Volpe why the city doesn’t do the reassessment of property in-house. Volpe said the city’s assessors office doesn’t have the staff necessary to meet the state’s timetable to do the revaluation program on its own.

Russell said people who have recently purchased a house in the city of Jamestown for more than the asking price because of low-interest rates are concerned about the revaluation. He said that he is worried the revaluation might drive people out of the city.

Last fall when the reassessment was first discussed by the council, Volpe said the last time a reassessment was done the total assessed property value in the city increased 263%. She said performing a reassessment could also lower the city’s tax rate.

Volpe said a house assessed at $70,000 that saw no change in its value could see a tax decrease of $112. She said the equivalence rate in the city is 93%, which contributes to a higher tax rate due to inequity in values.


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