The town of Cicero approved a contract with GAR Associates, a Buffalo firm, for a town-wide revaluation project that will result in a full reassessment of all 1300 parcels in the town.
The town board voted unanimously to approve the contract with GAR Associates at a special meeting Friday July 10. The company will begin evaluating properties in the town at the beginning of August.
The project will cost the town close to $1 million; they will pay GAR Associates $200,000 for August through December of 2009, $400,000 for 2010 and $325,000 for 2011. According to town comptroller Jeanne Kulesa, there is enough money in the town’s reserve fund to cover this year’s costs. In 2010 and 2011, the money will come out of the town’s general budget.
By the end of 2011, all parcels in the town will be assessed at full value (the town currently assesses on a partial basis using an equalization rate of 4.9 percent).
The project was deemed necessary by a committee of citizens last fall. The committee was formed after former assessor Anita Barnello was lambasted for reassessing over 700 waterfront properties, in some cases increasing assessments by 30 percent. The reassessment and reaction to it revealed a serious problem with Cicero’s assessments; the committee noted that some properties had not been reassessed in nearly two decades. That meant that some houses were woefully under-assessed, while others were over-assessed.
The town-wide revaluation by GAR Associates will be overseen by the town’s new assessor, Brad Brennan, who is also the assessor for the town of Salina.
GAR Associates has been performing real estate valuations for over 35 years, working with mortgage companies, banks, attorneys, accounting firms and town, county and state agencies. The majority of the towns they have worked with are in Western New York.
The firm will hold several public meetings to explain their process; see the breakout for more information.
Town of Cicero Real Property Reassessment Project 2011
The town of Cicero has adopted a resolution to revalue all properties in the town in an effort to create fair and equitable property assessments for the 2011 assessment roll. To assist in this effort, GAR Associates, Inc. has been retained as contractor for the town. GAR will be working closely with Town of Cicero Assessor, Brad Brennan CRA, SCAA.
The goal of this project is to create fair and equitable property assessments at 100 percent of full market value.
The intent of the town and the contractor (GAR) is to work with the community in achieving this goal.
The first phase of the project will begin in July with the mailing of inventory surveys to all residential and commercial property owners in the town. The town and GAR are asking property owners for assistance in completing the information on this survey.
Beginning in August, GAR staff will be collecting inventory at all properties within the town of Cicero. Staff will be attempting to perform an interior and exterior inspection on each property. Exterior measurements will be taken at this time to assist in obtaining proper inventory of each improved property. Digital photos will also be taken of the exterior.
ALL GAR STAFF WILL HAVE PROPER IDENTIFICATION ON THEM DURING FIELD INSPECTIONS. The town assessment office, clerk and local police agencies will have a vehicle list of all project staff members.
As part of the ongoing effort to keep the property owners informed throughout the project, GAR will hold general information workshops for property owners. The first series is scheduled as follows:
10 a.m. or 12 p.m. July 25
6 or 7:30 p.m. July 29
6:30 p.m. July 30
7 p.m. Aug. 12
Seating is limited for each session and reservations are required. For reservations and location please call 1 (800) 718-5149 or register on line at http://appointments.garappraisal.com. Additional sessions will be added as required.
The above was a press release issued by GAR Associates.
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.