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FEARS SURFACE AS OFFICIALS OUTLINE LACKAWANNA REVALUATION SCHEDULE

Property revaluations are just beginning in Lackawanna, but already they have generated an undercurrent of fear that assessments -- and tax bills -- will soar as they have in at least one town in northern Erie County.

"We need a reval like a hole in the head," Joseph Ippolito of Burke Drive said at Monday's City Council meeting. "It's like imposing a tax increase without a tax increase."

In Amherst, residents have responded angrily to the latest revaluation effort, which raised assessments on nearly half the properties in the town.

Some town officials have called for throwing out the results and starting anew.

Last fall, the Lackawanna City Council awarded a contract to GAR Associates of Amherst to reassess city properties, which hasn't been done since 1988.

At Monday's Council meeting, Assessor Frank Krakowski offered residents copies of an update through March.

All verification of data and inventory was finished in January; all properties have been photographed; and photographs of residences have been linked to the assessment system.

By the end of this month, photographs of commercial properties will be linked to the system, and sales verifications should be completed.

The first of three public awareness classes on the project is scheduled for 7 p.m. April 25 in the Martin Road Senior Center. Reservations are required by calling 827-6473 or 827-6451 by April 21.

Classes on challenging assessments will be offered in August and September. But residents will not receive notices about their assessments until September, according to the schedule distributed by Krakowski.

Beginning April 15, assessment information will be available on the Assessment Department's page at the city's Web site: www.ci.lackawanna.ny.us.

e-mail: jhabuda@buffnews.com

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