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Cicero: Assessment committee makes recommendations

Full assessment is not a big, bad bugaboo, said Melinda McElroy, a member of the committee. It makes it easier and it gives the state assurance that our tax rolls are accurate.

But it doesn't mean taxes will go up automatically, she said.

If your property is currently under-assessed, then, yes, your taxes will go up, she said. But that happens whether we go to full assessment or not. If you're over-assessed, your taxes will go down. If you're correctly assessed, they'll stay the same.

One thing is for sure - something has to be done.

This town has been unfairly assessed for years, said committee member Greg Tupper. We have to take a big step to correct it so that, looking into the future, our taxes will be fair.

The committee's recommendations:

' 'Upgrade the assessor's office

' Add staffing to be certain that the assessment roll is kept current, the office is staffed whenever town offices are open and there is increased communication with and assistance for homeowners

' Staff should be one assessor, one appraiser, two data collectors and one clerk (five full-time staff, up from three currently)

' Investigate and utilize computer software applications from the state and/or county

' Offer proper training, especially in dealing with the public in a courteous and professional manner

' Review and update descriptions of staff experience requirements regularly

' 'Perform a revaluation of all properties and move to a full value assessment

' Eliminate the extra calculations and work necessitated by the partial value system by switching to a full market assessment

' Complete a comprehensive inventory and full revaluation of all properties in the town within two years (starting January 2009 and to be completed by May 2011)

' Hire an outside contractor to perform the revaluation to speed up the process and alleviate pressure on assessment staff

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