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PROPERTY ASSESSMENTS TO BE MAILED

Reassessment disclosure notices on North Tonawanda residential, commercial and industrial property will be mailed to all property owners within a couple of days.

City Assessor Brian M. Hess and two officials of GAR Associates, consultants on the city's reassessment project, met with the Common Council at a work session Tuesday night to explain the process.

Hess and the GAR representatives -- William Allen, president, and Cindy Baire, vice president -- emphasized that figures they used Tuesday night are all preliminary.

For that reason, they asked the Council to have the meeting closed to the public.

However, City Attorney Henry F. Wojtaszek said the subject did not qualify for an executive session.

The assessment disclosure notices contain the preliminary property assessments at full-market value as of Jan. 1. The notices also contain last year's assessment figures at the 70 percent equalization level.

The tax amounts shown are estimates based on last year's budget and how taxes would affected if the new assessments go into effect.

They do not reflect future tax liability, the notices say.

"Actual tax dollars to be paid in the future will depend upon changes in budgets adopted by each jurisdiction (city, county, schools) and also other property assessment changes, exemptions, changes in state aid and reapportionments of county and school tax levies," the notice says.

If the property owner disagrees with the assessment, the notice advises: "In order to protect your right to assessment review, you must file a formal written complaint with the city Board of Assessment Review."

Hess reminded property owners to "focus on the full market value estimate" of their property.

"If you do not agree with the estimate, and can offer proof to support a change, you can follow the process of filing a complaint," he said.

Informal hearings on the complaints will begin March 27 and continue through April. Appointments are required.

Beginning Tuesday, a special assessors satellite site will begin operations in the Col. Payne Community Center, 460 Wheatfield St. A site for obtaining information regarding property assessments is the North Tonawanda Library, 505 Meadow Drive.

In another matter, a disagreement between the city and residents near the Burger King restaurant on Payne Avenue continued over the restaurant chain's request for a rezoning to allow for expansion of the drive-in.

Residents oppose Burger King's expansion plan, saying it will congest traffic near Payne and East Avenue, endangering children, and damaging residential property values.

Some city officials favor the rezoning, which could add to the city's tax base.

The question to be decided by the Council is whether to allow the rezoning for the expansion.

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