Property owners in Amherst notified of a 20 percent increase or less in their new assessment may see their taxes remain the same or even a decline, according to the latest estimates from the Town Assessor's Office.
It's still early in the town's reassessment, but Town Assessor David C. Marrano projects a 20 percent increase in the town's total taxable assessed value.
That number will decrease slightly as assessments are lowered through the review process, but it means taxes should hold steady for those who saw an equal increase in their own property.
Properties in the hot housing markets of the Village of Williamsville, Snyder and pockets of east and central Amherst all probably received increases much more than 20 percent, Marrano said. But there are other neighborhoods where increases were less than 20 percent.
Williamsville Mayor Brian Kulpa said village taxes for the village's 2017-18 fiscal year will not be based on the new assessments property owners began receiving earlier this week.
Marrano has been telling visitors to his office in Town Hall that owners should focus on the assessed value mailed to them late last week.
"Generally, people have been real professional about it," he said. "They come in, they're asking questions, they're looking at their numbers."
Informal assessment reviews will be held in March and April through appointments made by calling 1-866-910-1776 or online at garappointments.garappraisal.com.
Research tools for the review process, including sales books to look at what other properties sold for in your neighborhood, are available on the town's website.
"We've tried to really give people all the tools they need to at least review their number, and if they decide they feel it's not fair, to challenge it," he said.
Residential property owners have three attempts to challenge their new assessment: during the informal review, on May 23 before the Board of Assessment Review, which is made up of local real estate professionals, and, if they're still unhappy, by filing a small claims assessment review in court. Commercial property owners may file an Article 7 court challenge.
"You have three chances to challenge it, and three different sets of eyes," Marrano said.
He estimated that up to 10 percent of the town's 44,000 property owners may want to challenge their new assessments, based on other recent townwide reassessments. Amherst last completed a townwide reassessment in 2009.