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Change in equalization rate impacts Colton’s full value

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COLTON - According to the 2012-2013 property tax rolls for the Colton-Pierrepont School District, the town of Colton’s assessed value increased slightly last year, leading to a slight increase in the town’s equalization rate.

That change in equalization rate then led to a tax rate increase that was smaller for Colton taxpayers than other taxpayers in the Colton-Pierrepont Central School District.

While the equalization rate only increased by 0.16 percent from 4.05 percent to 4.21 percent, St. Lawrence County Real Properties Director Darren W. Colton said when you’re dealing with numbers that small it doesn’t take a big change to make a big impact.

“It isn’t 4 percent on paper, but it actually represents 4 percent,” Mr. Colton said, noting that would explain why taxpayers in Colton are seeing a school tax rate increase that is roughly 4 percent smaller than taxpayers in either Pierrepont or Parishville.

The property tax rolls show the town’s full valued decreased by more than $13 million from $347,236,604.90 to $334,194,204.20.

While $13 million may sound like a lot of money, Mr. Colton said that decrease is again reflective of the equalization rate increase, noting that $13 million is just under 4 percent on $347 million.

“An increase in equalization rate will decrease your full value and a decrease in that rate will increase your full value,” he said.

“It’s all to do with the equalization rates set by New York state,” Mr. Colton said. “That rate is then applied to the assessment to determine the full value.”

Colton Town Supervisor Dennis B. Bulger said another change could be on the horizon for taxpayers in Colton as Erie Boulevard is challenging it’s assessment on power dams located in the township.

“One of the things we’re working on now is Erie Boulevard,” Mr. Bulger said. “They’re challenging their assessments for power dams, not only here, but in Potsdam and all along the Raquette River.”

But at this time, Mr. Bulger said those tax certiorari cases have yet to be resolved.

“Depending on how they are resolved that could have a major impact,” he said.

Mr. Colton explained that should the town’s assessed value decrease an increase in the tax rate would be likely, as that too would be reflected in the town’s full value, giving the district less of a base to spread its levy over.

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