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PROPERTY REVALUATION MEETING DRAWS A CROWD

Property owners filled Holland Town Hall on Wednesday to learn how the town's upcoming property revaluation will affect their wallets.

David Wilkins, a real estate property analyst with the state Office of Real Property Services, said the goal of revaluation is not to raise taxes but to make them more equitable.

To do this, officials hope to tax property owners based on the full market value of property -- not a percentage of the property value, as is currently done in Holland, at 83 percent -- and other municipalities.

Market value is determined by comparing a property with similar properties that have sold recently in the same neighborhood, he said.

"Sales for this quadrant of Erie County have risen 4 percent through May of this year," Wilkins said. "If you look at sales over the last three years, some values are up 50 percent, others just 10 percent."

One resident questioned the timing of the effort, in which most of the town's properties were appraised before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. She questioned whether property values might be inflated.

Property owners will have recourse, though. A grievance day is scheduled for the first Tuesday in June. To participate, property owners must file a formal grievance sometime between the assessor's informal review in March and May 24.

For example, Wilkins said, the owner of a house for sale at $120,000 might be able to win a lower assessment if he is unable to sell the property.

Supervisor Gordon Hessel Jr. said the state will reimburse the town $5 per parcel for the revaluation. There are 1,848 parcels in Holland. The last reassessment was in 1992.

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