FULTON — A five-member panel consisting of two tax professionals, a real estate broker, a real estate appraiser and the City of Fulton assessor conducted a town hall meeting Wednesday at the Fulton War Memorial.
The purpose of the meeting was to explain this year’s property tax reassessment process to owners of homes and commercial properties in Fulton. Along with City Assessor Mary Beth Johnson, New York State Department of Tax and Finance real estate analyst Aaron Lesch-VonRandall; Corey Metz, director of Oswego County Property Tax Services; Susan Fiorini, associate broker at Howard Hanna Real Estate; and Mike Maxwell of Maxwell Appraiser Services.
Speaking to Fulton Mayor Deana Michaels, Fulton Common Council members and approximately 20 Fulton residents, Johnson explained why the reassessment was necessary and how property values were generated to arrive at a new fair value. property dealer.
“Obviously we want equity in equity for all owners,” Johnson said. “It is the purpose of making this revaluation after a long period of falling below 100%.”
Johnson introduced Lesch-VonRandall to explain the state’s role in the process.
“We’re helping a number of reviewers with this process,” Johnson said. “We’re doing things like overseeing Mike’s business to make sure they hit the numbers and help get this town up 100% so the assessments on this new assessment roll reflect current market values.”
Johnson also asked Metz to give a brief description of the county’s role in the process.
“Similar to the state, we are here to assist the city with whatever it needs for this reassessment project,” Metz said. “We help maintain their database of assessments and provide access to contractors and anyone else who might need access to the fields, and we do all the tax mapping for the county. All parcels and boundaries being assessed are reflected on the tax map kept in our office. »
Metz added, “We also draft county, city and school tax bills, all generated from our office.”
He said he also wanted to explain what the re-evaluations were for and what they did and didn’t do, as he expected other members of the band to also contribute some points along these lines.
“State law requires appraisals to be a flat percentage of market value,” Metz said. “A value of 100% is the ‘golden rule’ because it’s the easiest for people to understand. The appraisal is the same as the market value of a person’s home.
Metz further explained that when these valuations are not reviewed, that’s when these values start to drop.
He also said that reassessment produces fairness and equality on the (tax) role, redistributing the tax burden more fairly. It allows taxpayers to better understand their assessment and its link to this market value, and corrects this equalization rate to be eligible for state aid.
“What he’s not doing is raising everyone’s taxes,” Metz said. “It doesn’t create a new tax base that didn’t exist before.”
Metz added that the reassessment also did not affect the tax levy.
“What changes with this reassessment are tax rates,” he said. “Rates go down as the value of the city goes up. The tax rate is a calculation using the taxable value and the tax levy to determine it. The city with more value makes the tax rate lower.
Metz said people will start receiving an impact notice in the mail within days. Johnson said these were posted on March 1.
Johnson said homeowners often say their home hasn’t changed, so why should their property tax change. But what they don’t take into account is that changes to a person’s home determine the fair market value of a home, as do fluctuations in the market, and these values often fluctuate.
“I’ve been selling homes in the town of Fulton for quite a long time,” Fiorini said. “The last three or four years have probably been the most unusual and difficult, really.”
Fiorini said inventory is down and with the onset of COVID, when homes come on the market, if priced right, they’re sold within a day.
“It’s no joke, within 10 to 12 hours,” she said. “So it’s a little frustrating for buyers right now, but if you’re a seller, you’re pretty well seated.”
She said the market had gone up, pointing out that list prices were one thing, but selling prices were consistently higher than what the home was listed for. She said the increase in house prices between 2017 and today was around 35%, which is “enormous”.
“What determines a sale is the location, the size of the house and the inventory, and as I say, our inventory is very, very low,” Fiorini said.
Maxwell explained how his company values the property.
“We looked at sales from 2018 through November 2021,” Maxwell said. “Reviewing sales means we looked at them, making sure they were valid sales, they weren’t foreclosures, they went through family members and ‘there were no extenuating circumstances as to why the property was sold.’
Maxwell said once those sales are in order, he also needs to apply an appreciation, which means that for a home that sold in 2018 for $100,000, the market value as of July 1, 2021 would likely be around $130,000.
“It’s because of how the market has moved so quickly,” he said.
Maxwell said he spent most of late August through October walking the streets of Fulton comparing each house to the “comp” sheets he had drawn up earlier. Comparison (or comparable) sheets describe the size, location and construction of the home to help the appraiser determine the overall value.
“Everything is done from the right-of-way, which is normal in this process,” he said. “I was able to determine the value of the house using the comparable sheets.”
Maxwell said that once he compiled the numbers he sent them to the assessor, who in turn reviewed them for about six weeks, then they met to discuss which ones were too high, too low or correct in the opinion of both.
Maxwell reviewed the timeline of events to come.
• Mail impacts were sent on March 1
• Public meeting on March 2
• Informal hearings with Maxwell, March to April
• Formal hearings in May
• Grievance Day 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Hearing room at City Hall, May 24
• School tax bills issued with new values in September
Maxwell said the notice will inform owners of their current valuation. It will also show any exemptions and if you have any exemptions such as Enhanced STAR or Basic STAR. A STAR is a New York State school tax relief program that provides an exemption from school property taxes for owners of occupied primary residences.
Maxwell said veterans would also be considered.
Maxwell said that on the back of the impact notices people receive, there’s a phone number the recipient will be asked to call to discuss your assessment. Maxwell said to be patient as it might take some time for someone to respond.
“Don’t just get the notice and call. Find the information required for the call,” he said. “Look for sales in and around your neighborhood. Make sure you understand what you are asking. Make sure you have information about your own home.
Maxwell said most often the calls last about 10 to 12 minutes.
“Focus on your own home,” he said. “Don’t worry about your neighbor’s house, the person at the end of the block. Talk about your own home. Also, don’t talk about what you’ve paid for in the past. Review your information and let us know what we need to know in order to give you an accurate assessment.
There are websites people can use to get the information needed to run a productive appeal, such as www.tax.ny.gov, www.oswegocounty.com, and fultonny.org.
Johnson reminded people what they should do to make things as easy as possible.
“As we said, the impact notices were mailed out,” Johnson said. “Please don’t forget to read the back. It contains all the information you need to help you find answers to questions that will help you through the process.
Johnson made some final comments about why the panel came to speak to residents.
“I want the fairest ratings we can get,” Johnson said. “With the fact that the rate has slipped over the past two years, I knew the market value was getting higher than the assessed value. It’s not fair. It’s not evenly distributed across the tax base, so i want everyone to pay their fair share.And who doesn’t want their assessment to go up?If the tax rate is going to come down going up on the whole tax base in the city with businesses (properties) and stuff. I mean it’s traditionally your biggest purchase, why wouldn’t you want it to increase as much as possible?”