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Ogdensburg finalizes 2014 property assessment roll

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The assessed value of property in the city has fallen $444,704 over last year, according to the 2014 final tax roll to be filed on Friday at City Hall.

City Assessor Bruce Green said the assessment roll for 2014 is $271,833,077 compared to a 2013 roll of $272,277,781.

Mr. Green said the $444,704 dip in taxable valuation represents a decrease of less than one-tenth of 1 percent over the previous year.

“It’s very small; it’s not big,” Mr. Green said.

The percentage of change reflected in this year’s final assessment roll is attributed to two factors, according to Mr. Green. He said residential property values have increased by a combined $2.7 million, while the assessment on utility companies has dropped by $3.2 million. He said a separate assessment category for “special franchises,” which includes utility cables that run over or under public property in the city, has also dipped by approximately $103,765.

Mr. Green said utility companies that saw their assessments lowered included Verizon Corp., National Grid, and the AG Energy LP cogenerator plant on the grounds of the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center. He said the 25-megawatt cogeneration plant saw the biggest single assessment drop from $3.5 million to $500,000.

“The plant is just a skeleton of what it used to be,” Mr. Green said.

Homeowner Ronald D. Bell, 702 Main St.,an outspoken critic of a recent round of property revaluations in the city, said he thinks this year’s assessment roll is another indication that private property owners are paying more than their fair share of taxes, while others are paying less.

Mr. Bell’s home was one of 900 properties reassessed in the city this year, and he was one of 29 homeowners who filed a grievance over their assessment hikes with the city’s Board of Assessment review. In Mr. Bell’s case his home’s assessment was originally slated to increase $38,000 over the previous year, but the grievance board later agreed to drop that amount by $5,000.

“They did make an effort, but it’s not a great improvement,” Mr. Bell said. “Look what’s happening here. I see so many homes for sale that I can’t get over it. People are getting out of the city because their taxes are too high.”

Ogdensburg has one of the highest tax-exempt property ratios in the state, according to city officials, with about 70 percent of all city property excluded from paying taxes. The properties include government institutions, churches and not-for-profit companies and organizations.

The city’s 2014 final assessment roll will be made public on Friday and filed with the City Comptroller’s Office for public inspection.

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