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Revaluation program may end

Town of Holland Supervisor Michael Kasprzyk said the town's full-value assessment program, which was launched in 2002, may not be renewed when it expires in May.

During a meeting of the Town Board on Wednesday, Kasprzyk read a letter from Real Property Services of New York, which praised the town for being a model community and taking on the full-assessment program. For the last five years, Holland has earned nearly $9,000 a year, or $5 per parcel, as compensation for its revaluation efforts.

However, the program has proved contentious for some property owners who believe their assessments are out of line. Meanwhile, the legal bills for the town on the issue are piling up.
Ten years ago, it would not be uncommon for a dozen property owners to contest their valuations, Kasprzyk said. Under the revaluation program, that number has been closer to 50 or 60, he added.

He noted the town has had to hire outside legal help to defend the assessments and that the annual income of $9,000 doesn't cover those costs or additional appraisal fees -- estimated at more than $50,000.

"I've convinced myself that it's a disservice to the taxpayers of Holland," Kasprzyk said. "It's not fair when [all] other communities are not required to do it."

Also, since local property values are used by the county, Kasprzyk believes Holland residents pay an inequitable share of Erie County taxes, even with the use of equalization rates. He concedes that ending the program would mean "bucking the state" and local assessors, as well.

In another matter, officials from NEI, the town's garbage contractor, met with the supervisor to address complaints about service.

Kasprzyk noted there has been a turnover of management at the company, particularly in the Blasdell division, which services Holland, and the new management is promising improvements. In turn, the town has agreed to communicate all refuse collection problems to the firm in writing.

Areas of recurring problems -- including missed collections, recyclables thrown in with regular garbage and misplaced refuse containers -- are occurring on Parker, Wagner and Wilkens roads.

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