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Tue., Oct. 6
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Potsdam gears up for assessment reevaluation


POTSDAM — The town is in the midst of its first full property revaluation since 2008.

Town Assessor James P. Snyder has been visiting every property gathering information since August. There are about 5,500 properties, and he will have visited all of them by the end of February.

“I’m on the road every day. It’s been pretty crazy,” he said.

Data collector Devan Korn also has been visiting properties, taking photos and measuring square footage. He began entering the information into the town’s computer database to make sure all of the information is up to date for the upcoming reassessment.

Modern technology is making the creation of a comprehensive property inventory easier than ever. By using aerial photography databases and Bing Maps, Mr. Korn and Mr. Snyder were able to identify a few camps and other pieces of property that never had been listed in the town’s inventory.

Once the field review is complete, town property owners will receive impact notices that explain any assessment changes and how it will likely impact tax rates.

A letter will accompany the notice, explaining that the estimated tax burden is subject to change if town spending changes or assessments are successfully challenged. The impact reports sent during 2008’s revaluation indicated a fairly small tax hike for most property owners, but rates changed, sending costs up much higher than initially estimated.

Those who feel their assessment is unfair will be able to schedule an informal hearing with Mr. Snyder, and be given a 15-minute appointment to explain why their assessment should change. Property owners who are still not satisfied can take their case to the annual Board of Assessment Review meeting in May, and then on to state Supreme Court if necessary.

Even if he will not lower the assessment, Mr. Snyder said he hopes he can explain to people what led to his decision.

“I think that’s half the battle, public relations,” he said.

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