Spafford: Resident sheds light on error

"At that point, I called the state and sent both appraisal copies over there," Copeland said. "The state in Albany couldn't figure it out."

The company that sets the precedence on appraisals, Marshall and Swift, also couldn't figure it out. They could come up with Copeland's number, but could not recreate Fitts' number.

"What we found out was so simple it's scary," Copeland said, and went over what numbers each taxpayer should have in the right hand corner of their assessment paperwork. On the sheet, there is a place for a location multiplier, which should have been a 1.0.

"I got a 2.0 -- what he did was double the cost of everything new," Copeland said. "Syracuse is the base for the whole state. We are supposed to be at 1.0. Larry's got us at 2.0. It means it costs more to build a house in Spafford than anywhere in the continental United States."

Copeland also said he went in for grievance day and was told that the town doesn't use the cost approach because it has no value at all.

"The problem you've got is some of these people have already gone to grievance," Copeland said. "It's a mess, that's what it is. He didn't apply the location multiplier. That's a major valuation problem. I think it's a legal issue."

The numbers are also now part of the town's tentative roll despite what Copeland called a "gross negligence" on the assessor's part. Many residents voiced their anger over the errors that have been made.

Lesch-VonRandall said he was comfortable with the job Fitts did because nine out of 10 times he will use the sales approach instead of the cost approach when assessing a property.

According to Lesch-VonRandall, the town does not have the legal right to roll the assessments back to the previous ones and redo the town-wide revaluation.

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