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Birdsong residents seek a revaluation

Some residents in one of Orchard Park's most exclusive subdivisions say they've had enough of high assessments -- and the accompanying taxes.

More than 100 residents of Birdsong have signed a petition asking for a revaluation.

"Obviously we've had a huge loss in property values," said William McMullen of Birdsong Parkway.

He said there are 140 homes in the development, with about 20 of them up for sale. But owners are having difficulty selling them. McMullen told the Town Board Wednesday night of several cases.

"The gentleman paid $1.4 million for the house," he said. "He's trying, trying, to get $869,000."

Another neighbor paid $1.1 million, and is hoping to sell it for $905,000.

"We have another person who is paying $44,000 in taxes -- 44,000," McMullen said. "It doesn't make sense."

McMullen, who was accompanied by several residents, said since property values have decreased, he would like to see a 20 percent drop in taxes.

The last time all the town's property underwent a revaluation was in 1990.

Subdivisions built since then are assessed using current market values and the town's equalization rate of 58. That means a house worth $100,000 is assessed at $58,000. But sometimes assessments are higher or lower, and older homes could be worth much more than their assessed value.

Birdsong residents complained that they've been told if they can afford to purchase homes in Birdsong, they can afford the assessments and the taxes they bring.

"Everything just seems to reflect on Birdsong Parkway. It's not something we enjoy," McMullen said. "Why are homes built in the last seven years supporting the general community of Orchard Park?"

Birdsong residents are not the only ones who would like an assessment update. Assessor Milton Bradshaw has called for a reval in the past, and has requested funds be included in the budget.

Councilwoman Nan Ackerman said the Town Board could find out how much a reval would cost, and how much state aid might be available. But board members did not say whether they were in favor of an update.