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Town of Lockport scraps revaluation plan

LOCKPORT – There will not be a townwide property revaluation in 2014, the Town Board decided Wednesday.

Assessor Jill Lederhouse had proposed a complete reassessment of every property, but Town Supervisor Marc R. Smith said it would have cost about $60,000 to hire outside consulting help, and town leaders didn’t want to spend the money.

“After looking at the cost involved in looking at every single property, we’ve decided to continue our maintenance program,” Smith said.

That means the assessor will look at values in neighborhoods with significant real estate sales activity. Smith said this method means about one-fourth of the town is reassessed each year.

The town’s equalization rate is already at 100 percent, meaning the state Office of Real Property Services believes the assessment roll reflects full current market value.

By not having a townwide program, however, the town forgoes a state offer to pay the town $5 per parcel.

The board tentatively approved a three-year contract with a software company, Proserve, to provide information about comparable home values on the town’s website. The contract, to be voted on formally at the Aug. 7 meeting, will cost $2,561 per year, which is $50 less than the current software.

Also on Aug. 7, the board is expected to approve a new contract with the SPCA of Niagara for animal control services, which will run through the end of 2015.

Town Attorney Michael J. Norris said the town will pay the SPCA $6,606 for the second half of this year; $13,476 for all of 2014; and $13,746 for 2015.

The current charge of slightly over $9,900 annually hasn’t been increased in more than a decade, Smith said. He acknowledged that the SPCA’s cost of providing stray dog services exceeds what the town has been paying.

Councilman Paul W. Siejak said animal activists “demanded a no-kill facility, and there’s a cost to that.”

Town Clerk Nancy A. Brooks said the SPCA will begin to handle licensing for dogs adopted by Town of Lockport residents at the SPCA’s shelter. “They used to have that as a service, and then it stopped,” Brooks said.

The board also gave the go-ahead for demolition of an abandoned house at 6918 Tonawanda Creek Road.

Norris said the owner will be given 30 days to tear it down before the town does so and makes the cost a tax lien against the property.

He predicted the property will end up on the county’s tax foreclosure list, although he may ask the county to give control to the town so it could sell the land and recoup the demolition cost.

“The back of the building is literally falling off the foundation,” Building Inspector Brian M. Belson said.