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Board divided over annual reassessments

The Town Board is split over the need to reassess property values in Pendleton every year.

Board members last month voted, 3-2, to give Assessor Karen S. Manning permission to buy stamps to mail out town reassessment-impact notices. The notices describe last year's assessment, this year's assessment and a comparison of the town and county taxes for the two years.

Manning said that it is important to reassess every year because senior citizens receive a better reduction in school taxes that way -- and because it is the fairest way to distribute the tax burden across the community.

Councilman Martin J. Korkuc, one of those who approved the measure, agreed.

"Reassessment doesn't make the taxes go up," Korkuc said.

During last month's meeting, most of the residents who complained about reassessments said they worried about the increase in taxes from the Starpoint Central School District.

Town Supervisor James A. Riester and Councilman Gerald K. Farnham voted against buying stamps.

"I don't see a big benefit for the taxpayers here," Riester said.

Riester expressed a general concern about the rising tax bills for those in the Starpoint district -- which also includes parts of the towns of Cambria, Lockport, Royalton and Wheatfield -- and the impact that annual reassessments have on tax bills.

The town needs to keep reassessing every year because, if not, the state will not grant senior citizens a full reduction in assessed property value, Manning said.

Senior citizens in other towns that do not reassess every year receive a smaller reduction in tax assessments, she said.

Lockport Town Assessor Kevin Van Dusen said he conducts annual assessments, as well, by statistically analyzing all properties in the town. He said he wishes that all the towns would do the same.

In Wheatfield, Assessor Gerald P. Maerten said his Town Board has not been in favor of reassessments.

"It is politically unacceptable to the town fathers to do so, " he said. "It is a political decision. It isn't a just and correct decision."


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