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CPCS superintendent optimistic about town-wide reevaluations

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COLTON - Colton-Pierrepont Central School Superintendent Joseph A. Kardash has expressed cautious optimism about the impact the soon to be completed town-wide property reassessments in the district will have on future budget votes.

KLW Appraisal Group, Buffalo, has been conducting the re-evaluations since early September 2013, the first in Colton in more than 40 years.

Colton and Brookfield Power reached a settlement regarding the assessed values of six Erie Boulevard Hydropower (EBH) owned properties in the hamlet last August. The result will be a drop of $30 million over the next six years for the assessment on Brookfield’s hydroelectric facilities in the township and the ongoing reassessment.

“Any time there’s a big change in the tax base there will always be winners and losers. We just hope in the end it will be equitable,” Mr. Kardash said. “A healthy system includes reevaluations on a regular basis just to make sure inequities don’t creep up over the years.”

While the settlement may mean higher taxes for most residential property owners in the area, Mr. Kardash said it is important to understand the facts.

“In the end, the way that this works is it doesn’t affect the tax levy. No additional money is collected,” he said. “No one actually collects additional money from the reevaluation. It is just the redistribution of who pays what amount.”

Colton has traditionally had one of the some of the lowest tax rates in the county, due in part to Brookfield paying property taxes in the $2 million a year range.

The settlement runs through 2019 with the assessed value of the properties dropping by $5 million each year. The assessed value for 2013 was $175 million and by 2019 that assessment will drop to $145 million.

The next step in the process should be completed in the next month or so, but property value data is not yet available.

“We’re finishing up the data collection. That includes the verification process where appraisers went out to verify the properties. Then what we did is we took properties that may have issues and checked those first,” town assessor Tina M. Miller said last week. “Now what we’re doing is going to nearly every home in the town and doing sketches and we measure the improvements. Basically that’s more for information purposes. ... Probably in about a month we should be done with the (data collection.) Most of the homes will be measured by then.”

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