9/03/2009

Contracting Assessment

Posted by MJ

Image: F&M Building Reflected in the Bewley Building

LUSJ is reporting that the city counsel is looking to bid out the city wide reassessment.

Macaluso, who works for the city on a contractual basis, has already told Tucker that revaluation services by a private appraising firm could cost $200,000 to $250,000. Updating the city’s property inventory, which is known to be rife with inaccuracies, and checking/adjusting the assessed value of every parcel is expected to take about 18 months.
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Adjustments have been nominal since mid-2006, when then-Assessor Vince Smith quit the post in light of widespread public outrage over his proposed value hikes. His successor, Peter Galarneau, quit earlier this year, after informing Tucker he could not manage revaluation without some outside help.
I can guarantee there will be outrage again. ;)

The city would be wise to find ways to make the assessment positive. No one likes to be penalized for upgrading their properties while others get "rewarded" for neglect. Case in point being the reduced assessment on the F&M building because of water damage and no tenants.  In most instances the system is backwards.

The truest value is sale price. What about setting the assessed value at what the the house was purchased for and keeping it there for that owner? Find a way to reward those who stick around and those who take run down houses and invest in them. Next time it is sold the assessment will automatically bump itself up to the fair market value. (of coarse loop holes would have to be closed) As for DT, how about some partial land based tax components to deter parking lots and sitting on empty buildings?

The assessment process should be another tool to promote investment; not to deter it. The citizens would be much happier.

4 comments:

Rocketboy said...

I still stand by my earlier belief that property tax should be land, and not building based. Land is a tangible asset, and the building adds value to the area.

MJ said...

The LVT system does sound interesting in promoting development. I've always been intrigued by it but have yet to dig deeper.

A lot of cities in PA use it up to 6:1 ration to other property taxes. Harrisburg Pa is high on it and claims success in redeveloping DT. I think it could be useful DT here also.

The biggest question to me is how to fairly set the price (value) of the land. Think people are angry now about assessments, try putting a value on the land alone that they would agree with with a "market value" readily available. ;) It would also pry take a slower stepped transition.

Do you have any good links for it or a deeper understanding of it than I do? Would make a very interesting post(s)

http://www.urbantools.net/

Anonymous said...

lockport with the highest taxes. and they are getting away with it again. wake up people. oh well whats another tax increase. the city can take all they want from me. i promice i wont protest.boy is this city full of suckers

Anonymous said...

Niagara County may be best known to the nation for the majesty of the Falls, but beyond the beauty lies a dubious distinction.

Homeowners in Niagara County now pay the highest property taxes in the entire country, when compared to how much their homes are worth.

“The property tax is obscene,” said William Ross, Chairman of the Niagara County Legislature. “Obscene in Western New York and obscene across the state of New York.”

This ranking comes from the Tax Foundation, a think tank in Washington, D.C. Researchers say the median home in Niagara County is worth just under $97,000. Homeowners pay 2.9% of that in property taxes, and that puts them number one across America.

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