CHATHAM—The Town Board heard an update on the town-wide assessments at the workshop meeting Thursday, April 8.
At the meeting, Town Assessor Kim Smith said that she had about 113 meetings and some emails and letters from property owners about their assessments as part of the town’s reassessment, which is going on right now.
In 2019, the Chatham Town Board decided to conduct a reassessment of all property in the town, using the county’s Real Property Tax Office, “in order to create fair and equitable assessments at 100% of market value,” according to the town’s website. A notice was mailed to every property owner in the town with the owner’s new, preliminary assessment at the beginning of March 1. If a property owner did not agree with the new value, the owner could schedule a meeting with Ms. Smith.
She said that of the approximately 200 property owners who reached out to her, 99% were reasonable. The most common concern came from people who believe the county thought their house is in better shape than it is; they came with photos to show the difference. There were also issues with the assessed value of properties. Ms. Smith said that she only heard from people with legitimate complaints.
Of the 850 to 900 parcels in the town, “a good portion of the town didn’t see an increase in taxes at all,” said Supervisor Donal Collins.
Ms. Smith said that most people asked her why the town waited so long to do the reassessment and suggested it be done more often. Supervisor Collins pointed out there had not been a town wide reassessment in 20 years.
Ms. Smith said that the towns of Canaan and New Lebanon are now on a schedule to do a reassessment every four years. But if Chatham plans to do that, they need to start planning for that in two years.
She also said that property owners that still have concerns about their new assessments, which will be mailed out in early May, can file the paperwork and attend the town’s grievance day before the Board of Assessment Review (BAR) in May. Information is on the town’s website assessor’s page at www.chathamnewyork.us/departments/assessor
The town is also currently accepting letters of interest to fill an unexpired term on the BAR. The BAR meets once a year to hear complaints in relation to assessments. “Knowledge of local values and Real Property Tax Law is a must” to apply by the May 31 deadline, according to the town’s website. And “applicant must possess judicial temperament, patience and tact.”
‘A good portion of the town didn’t see an increase in taxes at all.”
Supervisor Donal Collins’
Town of Chatham
Also at the meeting:
•The board voted to increase the camp registration fees for the summer program at Crellin Park. The resolution, which was passed unanimously, said that the board “realizes the increasing cost the town incurs to run the Summer Recreation Program.” The cost of the day camp program will go up to $200 for town residents and $400 for non-residents. And swimming lesson fees will go up to $88 for town residents and $175 for non-residents. Supervisor Collins said the board would revisit the resolution to include a discount on the camp fees for families with more than one child
•Town clean up week is April 18 to 24. Orange bags for road waste can be picked up at, and returned to the town hall on state Route 295
•The board voted to approve the little league program, the Columbia Clippers, which uses the Crellin Park fields to build dugouts in the park with no expense to the town
•The board voted to move forward with seeking funds through NY-19 Congressional District Community Program for a broadband expansion
•The board voted against proposed Local Law #3, an updated resolution on the Conservation Advisory Council
•The board voted to create a deputy historian position.
The next regular board meeting will be Thursday, April 21 at 6:30 p.m. Information on how to attend is at at www.chathamnewyork.us