CANTON Responding to a residents complaint, the Canton Town Council has asked its assessor, Steven E. Teele, to research the homes he reassessed over the past three years.
Board members also want Mr. Teele to explain what prompts him to increase assessments on some homes while leaving similar houses in the same neighborhood alone.
Weve asked him to show which residences have had changes and the reasons for those changes, said Town Supervisor David T. Button. Were trying to get a sense of what prompts a reassessment.
Board members decided to seek the information after Darby A. Morrisroe, 12 Lincoln St., told them she believes Mr. Teele is unfairly placing higher assessments on homes when theyre listed for sale or after a property transfer takes place.
She argues that, by not reassessing other neighborhood properties at the same time, new buyers end up paying more than their fair share of property taxes.
Ms. Morrisroe, a government professor at St. Lawrence University, said the practice of selective reassessment violates the state and U.S. constitutions and has been ruled illegal by the state courts.
Mr. Teele said he is gathering the requested information. The board has asked him to give a report at its July 9 meeting.
The town supervisor said the board is obligated to make sure the town is following correct standards for determining property values.
We have a lot of confidence in Steve Teele, but we owe it to our constituents to look at the situation, Mr. Button said.
Ms. Morrisroe has filed a formal grievance against the tentative $90,000 property assessment placed on the Lincoln Street home she purchased last year.
The assessment on that property increased two years in a row while similar homes in the neighborhood did not face any increase, she said.
Other new home buyers in Canton have faced similar circumstances, she told town board members.