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Spafford prepares for town-wide property reassessment

— For some property owners that may mean raising the value of their home, for others it could mean decreasing. Some residents may be assessed near the correct value and not see much change.

“Reassessing is the other way to make sure each taxpayer pays their fair share,” Lesch-VonRandall said. “We’re trying to bring everybody to the same level.”

However, Lesch-VonRandall said he does not anticipate the in-house assessor making big assessment increases or decreases, but rather that there will be small changes to bring the town back in line.

To complete a reassessment, the town needs to see what the real estate market is doing. With that in mind, an assessor cannot simply look just within the town of Spafford for the reassessment, as it is hard to measure the market with only 30 to 50 sales a year, Lesch-VonRandall said. The market in surrounding towns will be looked at for comparison.

According to Stone-Gridley, who has been an assessor for more than 20 years, this is the first time a reassessment has been handled in-house.

Many factors come into play when reassessing property. For instance, Stone-Gridley said she is going to have to take certain things into consideration, like cliffs and lake access, but she has to stay within the confines of the market.

Assessments also will be done by neighborhood — homes on Otisco Lake are in one neighborhood, homes on Skaneateles Lake are in another and a third neighborhood is represented by the properties in the middle section of the town.

As a “lot poor” town on the lakefront, meaning there are no vacant lots, people come into town and purchase small home or cottages only to demolish and rebuild larger, substantial homes, which can sometimes steer the market, driving up assessments and hurting those who have lived in Spafford for generations.

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