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Thread: Lancaster 2020 property reassessment

  1. #61
    Member gorja's Avatar
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    Here's the assessor's official statement

    Also on the town's OARS site, there is this -
    REVALUATION PROJECT UPDATE


    EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY ... In an effort to minimize exposure due to the on-going health pandemic Town Hall is now closed to the public. Please call 1-866-910-1776 with any questions regarding your new preliminary assessed value or the informal review process.

    Have a GREAT day,
    Georgia Schlager

  2. #62
    Member mark blazejewski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gorja View Post
    Here's the assessor's official statement

    Also on the town's OARS site, there is this -
    REVALUATION PROJECT UPDATE


    EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY ... In an effort to minimize exposure due to the on-going health pandemic Town Hall is now closed to the public. Please call 1-866-910-1776 with any questions regarding your new preliminary assessed value or the informal review process.
    Thank you for posting this Gorja and for the contact number.
    "Ronnie, get to work and get the agenda going."---"The Handler"

  3. #63
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    Bet town hall wouldn’t be closed if it was time to collect the tax rather than figuring out how to shuffle it.

  4. #64
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    Because of the coronavirus outbreak, residents would not have been given the proper opportunity to contest their new assessment, the Town of Cheektowaga is putting its reassessment process on hold, according to Cheektowaga Councilmember Linda Hammer.

    Will Lancaster follow suit? Should the Town follow suit?

    Lancaster property owners received their 2020 assessment notifications the first week of March and were well informed of the informal appeal process and the final date of appeal submittal.

    Property owners were advised that if they disagreed with the assessment value to go to the town’s website (Assessor’s Office , research the property values in their neighborhood (using OARS), fill out RP-524 form and attach information that indicates why they believe their new assessment does not reflect the value of their property (what their market value is).

    Followed that request and submitted my informal appeal by email several days ago – after contacting the Assessor and lodging my complaint. I live in a townhome community and several other units owners have either filed an appeal or in the process of doing so. All appeals are based on the same premise – our assessment does not reflect street, neighborhood or comparable sales and we are being over-assessed.

    Over the past several weeks, my neighbors and I have shared research data, reached like conclusions and have submitted RP-524 forms by email / mail to the Assessor or GAR Associates. We were well aware of the time element to enter our appeals and are not of the opinion that not enough time or information was not available.

    However, we all have computers and found easy access to information, sharing information and appeal delivery method. Others, especially overwhelmed seniors, who have no computer access may encounter difficulty.

    What is troubling is the Lancaster Assessor’s statement regarding delay and why:

    Postponement of the project would result in effectively wasting almost $300,000, or at least half of that. The assessments that are now in place would no longer be valid. Additional sales from July 2019 to July 2020 would have to be included which means additional sales analyzed, new models created, revisit properties, determine new values (potentially higher values as the real estate market is still increasing) and the remailing of 19,200 notices.

    Potentially higher values? With the virus impacting the real estate market (where real estate home showings will stop tomorrow), in the past two months I personally know of one home sale being cancelled in our community, one sale price lowered by 25%, one sold at our new assessed value and one selling for $20,000 less than the new assessment.

    Everything is fluid now. A **** time to be caught in an assessment process.

  5. #65
    Member gorja's Avatar
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    Maybe Gallivan and Wallace could push the state to move the 'grievance' day from May to July

    Have a GREAT day,
    Georgia Schlager

  6. #66
    Member mark blazejewski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gorja View Post
    Maybe Gallivan and Wallace could push the state to move the 'grievance' day from May to July
    Exactly Gorja.

    My question is "What extensions are going to be made with many NYS deadlines, for example, license renewals, driver license renewal in particular?

    That is why I have previously posted with these precise words...

    Quote Originally Posted by mark blazejewski View Post
    In light of New York State's designation of a State of Emergency, perhaps the Supervisor should consult the Executive Chamber in Albany for guidance in accordance with this?...

    https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation...8H9uJvLELErIec
    Those comments were not a "dig" at Ruffino. They were comments written with foreseeable concerns.
    "Ronnie, get to work and get the agenda going."---"The Handler"

  7. #67
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    Why should it be delayed? What can people not do now that they were doing before? We have so many forms of communication making face to face not necessary. Unless the assessor is not responsive, i don't see what the issue is.

    Oh, FYI, as someone who was screwed by a previous reassessment, wait a year before challenging yours. Everyone is going to complain now and the assessor may drop your assessment by a few thousand. Wait a year when no one is complaining and that number may be 10-20k. In '06 they were handing out 2-3k drops, in '07 I got a 20k drop.

  8. #68
    Member gorja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yaksplat View Post
    Why should it be delayed? What can people not do now that they were doing before? We have so many forms of communication making face to face not necessary. Unless the assessor is not responsive, i don't see what the issue is.

    Oh, FYI, as someone who was screwed by a previous reassessment, wait a year before challenging yours. Everyone is going to complain now and the assessor may drop your assessment by a few thousand. Wait a year when no one is complaining and that number may be 10-20k. In '06 they were handing out 2-3k drops, in '07 I got a 20k drop.
    I emailed mine in this morning.

    Have a GREAT day,
    Georgia Schlager

  9. #69
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    After having another lengthy discussion with the Assessor, I would like to share the following:

    I restate my opinion that enough time was provided property owners to research OARS, contact the Assessor or GAR Associates and determine whether an informal assessment appeal should be submitted. I have done both well before the allotted March 31, 2020 deadline. There is no reason for delay and it is not the Assessor's call to make.

    The new assessments must reflect property values as of July 1, 2019. That is the valuation date and that is set by the state. The sales history should reflect sales from July 2017 through July 2019. Unfortunately in my appeal OAR’S did not list sales in 2017 and had one sale included from September 2019. Apples to oranges but it did show that those 2017 inclusions increased the street sale average from $186,100 to $189,300 – closer to the new $195,000 assessment.

    I also learned why the one unit that sold in our townhome community was downgraded to ‘fair’ when no unit entry is permissible without unit owner consent - Internet pictures of home interiors posted by realtors at time of sale clearly indicate interior condition.

    I learned a lot in speaking with the Assessor and in turn pointed out some inconsistencies in the OARS system. The bottom line is that the Assessor encourages residents to contact her office, relate their concerns and reasons to lodge an informal complaint, and if not satisfied with the answer(s) provided, to submit an informal appeal with the required materials to contest the new assessment - which I and others have done.

    After having several discussions with the Assessor and contending that I have made but maintenance changes to my unit, I have submitted an informal appeal that my unit should not be assessed the same as units investing heavily in updates / upgrades and selling for outrageous over-bid prices in the process. My opinion!

    Lastly, I agree that we should use the assessment numbers generated. If the project was postponed or cancelled the town would forfeit state aid because we would NOT be at 100%, but all properties would be uniformly assessed at probably about 95%. This also effects exemptions.

    The bottom line is that residents have an opportunity to appeal to the Board of Assessments for relief. It is up to the homeowner to provide the data / documents to disprove his or her home is being over assessed.

  10. #70
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    From todayís Lancaster Bee

    Lancaster did it again. My house assessment went up a third, and the village looks the same as it did 50 years. ago. What are they doing with all this tax revenue? How can the price of a house increase $50,000? Seniors need to leave the area, because they canít afford to live here anymore.

    As a senior living on a fixed income and whose assessment was increased $54,000 (38.8%), I commiserate with you. That said, if all your research indicates the assessment value placed on your house does not meet what you believe your house is worth, or what you believe you could sell your house for on the market, hopefully you submitted an informal appeal application Ė as I have.

    I would caution you that:

    • It has been ten years since the last reassessment project
    • It has only been in the last few years that Lancasterís equalization rate dropped below 90%. In that time period the house market heated up significantly.
    • The estimated assessment increase cut off percentage where residents can expect to see an increase in tax is 30%. Your increase is 3% - according to your information. An individual with a home already assessed at $300,000 could see an assessment increase of $90,000 before realizing a tax increase.


    I donít know what your Ďhypotheticalí predicted tax increase is, but if significant, appeal to the Board of Assessments.

    However, also keep in mind it is your town and school board elected officials who determine spending and what your tax rate and resulting tax load will be. You canít challenge your tax bill.

  11. #71
    Member gorja's Avatar
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    For those who have underlying health condition, the supervisor's has made town employees available to pick up your informal review applications. No contact will be made; forms will be left outside for employees to pick up. Please contact the assessor's office at (716) 681-1311 to make arrangements for your application to be picked up.
    For more -
    https://lancaster.oarsystem.com/

    Have a GREAT day,
    Georgia Schlager

  12. #72
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    ASSESSOR INFORMATION ON REVALUATION PROJECT (UPDATE)

    The March 31st deadline is a deadline for informal assistance to our residence. If we extend this deadline, then we won't meet the deadline set by NYS to file the tentative roll of May 1st. This informal review process is NOT mandated by state law. They are offered as a courtesy to our property owners to have their issues and concerns addressed; basically to give them every chance possible to address those issues. If you call 683-1311 someone in the office can walk you through the process for this informal review. We understand the current health concerns, so if you are unable to leave your home the informal review application can be mailed in, faxed, emailed or put into a drop box outside the building so you can avoid any contact with people. Please keep in mind that NOTHING HAS to be done by the 31st, especially for those who are even more at risk than the norm. This is the cutoff date for the INFORMAL review. The elderly are not being forced to leave their homes, there are no hearings scheduled in March or April. If you are unable to get the informal review completed by March 31st and you feel there is additional information that the Assessor should consider which would directly affect the selling price of your property, there is the next step in the process, which is the Board of Assessment Review on May 26th. You SHOULD call for an appointment the first week in May (just so you don't have to sit and wait for an opening). You can present your concerns at that point and challenge your assessment then. This process IS mandated by the state. The Board of Assessment Review MUST hear every case that is submitted by 5 pm on May 26th. If there is an executive order that changes that date we will deal with that in the future and get the word out, but right now that is still on.

    Regarding the cancellation or postponement of the project - this would NOT be in the best interest of the property owners of Lancaster for the following reasons:

    1. MOST IMPORTANTLY .... Notices have already been mailed ... and people know if they are potentially going to see a reduction in taxes. VERY UNFAIR TO THEM TO PAY MORE THAN THEY HAVE TO FOR ANOTHER TAX CYCLE ... about 50% of the properties.

    2. The equalization rate will drop even lower than last year's value of 77% .. predicting about 72% ... meaning higher tax rates.

    3. Many exemption values will continue to decrease as a result of the lower equalization rate.

    4. We have already spent the money and the project is really complete ... we are just fine tuning it now.

    5. We would still have to increase assessments for the physical changes (new construction) that were completed.

    6. We would have to send out all 19,205 notices again with the old assessment, informing residents that this is the 2020 assessment.

    7. There has been really NO impact to those wishing to file an informal review. The law states we don't have to offer these. The Board of Assessment Review will be held and that is where people can go to file their grievance. This is not scheduled until May 26th, giving them lot of time. Property owners will have had almost a month to file the informal review application. There are multiple ways to submit the application without coming in contact with anyone.

    8. If we postpone until next year we have to either:

    a. Include another year's worth of sales, analyze, build new models, create new values, send out new notices, etc. This all costs money and there is absolutely no evidence that property values are decreasing, as a matter of fact, the sales that have occurred after July 1, 2019 (the cutoff useable sales for this project) are coming in even higher OR

    b. Use this year's value, but then we wouldn't get state aid, because we didn't include the additional year's sales and we would most likely not be at 100%. Probably more like 95%, which again affects exemptions, sales tax review, etc.

    It REALLY IS IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE TOWN TO MOVE FORWARD :

    If next year we notice that the health crisis has had a profound impact on property values, it can be addressed then. But, as of now, homes are still selling for more than the assessments. The new values that everyone received are meant to reflect property values as of July 1, 2019. That is mandated by the state. So please don't worry. Your specific issues will be addressed. Please call the Assessor's office at 683 - 1311 and let them know how we can help you.

    Assessor Information

    Rebecca Baker
    21 Central Avenue
    Lancaster, NY 14086

    Phone: (716) 683-1311

    Fax: (716) 681-7054

    Email: rbaker@lancasterny.gov

    Office Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

    For questions regarding data issues, please email ncarlon@lancasterny.gov

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