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North Tonawanda can qualify for a state maintenance aid payment of $5 per property parcel if it undertakes a assessment improvement project in 1999, according to City Assessor Brian M. Hess.

The state Office of Real Property Services is surveying municipalities to gauge local interest in assessment improvement projects Hess said.

The office can assist municipalities in planning, coordinating, monitoring and implementing such projects, he said.

An assessment improvement project can entail data collection, reassessment, or an assessment update, said Hess, who has long recommended such a project to correct North Tonawanda's inequitable property assessments and continually decreasing property tax equalization rate.

Under recent changes in the state's equalization and state aid programs, numerous benefits are offered to municipalities that maintain assessment rolls by periodically updating

Among them is the $5 per parcel state maintenance aid in the year of the assessment, followed by a $2 per parcel payment in each subsequent year, Hess said.

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