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Town Board prepares for property revaluation

The Farmersville Town Board met Monday night to make final preparations for a townwide property revaluation and prepared to meet again at 7 p.m. Thursday to discuss a law to permit wind-energy facilities.

Assessor Kay Reynolds told the board that her 2008 reassessment project will be completed in July 2008, with data collection to begin in May and end in July. The project will return the assessments for about 1,500 properties back to full market value.

Dennis Fisher, of the state Office of Real Property Services, said that after completion of the two-year reassessment, the town will be eligible for the state's six-year program returning a $5 per parcel reimbursement for conducting systematic revaluations to keep all properties at uniform values.

He said the town's assessments are currently valued at just 70 percent of the market value.

The board opted for a revaluation last summer after learning the expected 96 percent value had dropped to 80 percent. Also, Fisher's office found non-uniform values in a random market analysis at that time, ranging from 37 percent to 112 percent of market value.

Board members also were surprised to learn the town was not enrolled in a five-year full-value reassessment project that had been requested by a previous assessor and that the properties were dropping in value.

This prevents the town from receiving certain types of state aid, and it also means the town property owners will be responsible for a disproportionate share of the school tax obligations for a couple of years.

Reynolds and Fisher also said the Pigeon Hill neighborhood has seen a steep rise in market sales, and board members complained that this will impact assessments and raise taxes in other neighborhoods.

The work of collecting data and photographing all properties in the town will be done by former Town Assessor Alice Wright. Reynolds will be assisted by a part-time office helper.

The town's share of the project cost will be about $1,500, to pay a consultant to perform the task of assigning the property values using a state computer program. The consultant, Bob Hilbert, offered the service at $1 per parcel.

The board Monday agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding to go forward with the project.

The board also clarified last month's revision in a draft of a proposed windmill law, made at the request of residents during a public hearing on the legislation.

Board members said they lengthened a setback from 500 feet to 750 feet -- not 1,000 feet as some residents believed. The new draft states that any wind farm projects will have to meet a 750-foot setback from building exteriors.

Other undisputed changes added a provision to place warning signs on all four sides of the towers and relaxed restrictions for small wind generators.

"At the public hearing, we may make other changes," Town Supervisor Fritz Zuech said. "We may vote Thursday, but you will have an opportunity to comment."

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