CHATHAM—The Town Board workshop meeting on June 3 started with a presentation by Suzette Booy, the director of the county’s Real Property Tax Service Agency, about the town’s reassessment of properties currently going on. Ms. Booy and the new Town Assessor Kim Smith answered questions from the board and the residents who attended the online meeting.
According to a statement on the town’s website and on the meeting’s agenda, “in 2019 the decision was made by the Chatham Town Board to conduct a 2022 reassessment of all real property in the town of Chatham in order to create fair and equitable assessments at 100% of market value.”
Ms. Booy said at the meeting that the plan was to start the assessment in 2020, but there was a delay due to Covid-19 and the county was trying to do the reassessment at the same time as the reassessment of the Town of Ghent since the two municipalities share the Village of Chatham. She also said the town had contracted with the county for the work.
Ms. Booy went through the process of the reassessment at the meeting saying that county data collectors “have been out and about” already. She said the first step of the reassessment is “data verification.” She stressed that the data collectors are county employees and that they only go on the property and not in houses. They have IDs and their cars are marked. She also said her office now has the ability for aerial views of property.
Ms. Booy said several times at the meeting the process is to “make sure everybody is being assessed fairly.” She said that the data collectors are just out “verifying” the data that the town assessor has. And she emphasized they are not the people putting a value on the property. The information they collect is reviewed with the assessor and then used to value the property, she said.
A mailer will go out to property owners after the data is collected so property owners can review that information and go to the assessor if they think it is not correct. “You want to make sure that information is absolutely correct,” she said.
Then valuation starts, she said.
Once the valuation is complete, which is expected by March 1, 2022, the preliminary assessments will be sent to property owners. It will show an estimated tax. After that, property owners can have a meeting with the assessor to present information the assessor might have.
The new assessment roll will be filed in May of 2022.
All property owners will be able to grieve their assessments, Ms. Booy said.
“This is not something that happens quickly overnight,” Ms. Booy said of the process.
Town Assessor Kim Smith, who will be taking over from current Town Assessor Dan Horst this summer, also said the valuation part “is a long process” and the assessor doesn’t “just take those numbers and run with it.”
‘You want to make sure that information is absolutely correct.’
Suzette Booy, director
County Real Property Tax Services Agency
Ms. Booy said that currently the town’s equalization rate established by the state is 69.5%, but she said that could change and go lower. Ms. Smith said that with an equalization rate of at 69% “do you know what your being assessed at?” She said with a 100% assessment, you know the assessment of your property, and she said being at 100% is easier for the taxpayer.
Town Supervisor Donal Collins asked Ms. Booy how the process had gone in other towns. Ms. Booy said, “I think it’s gone well.” She said the county has assisted assessors in 13 other towns, and the state, which monitors the process, also gives aid to all those projects.
This year the county worked with the Town of Claverack and she said that of the 3,100 parcels in the town there were about 45 grievances on the town’s grievance day.
Ms. Booy and Ms. Smith both talked about the assessor working with property owners.
“The assessor does put in a great deal of time,” Ms. Booy said.
“People are going to complain,” said Ms. Smith.
Asked by Councilman John Wapner about the increase in home sales in the county, Ms. Booy said they do not use just one year of sales. Ms. Smith said that the current housing market “is going to come into play,” but she also said that just because the market is high does not mean that people are going to pay more in taxes. She said the goal of being reassessed is to make sure people are assessed uniformly and to get rid of inequities.
A video of the meeting is on the town’s website at www.chathamnewyork.us
Any questions about the process should be directed to the Chatham Town assessor at 518 392-2550 or email