Saturday, March 03, 2007

Reval Blog - Update

To say that I am livid is an understatement; I am beside myself with the mailing of the reassessment notices from MJW the other day. In 2004, the Town of East Fishkill entered into an agreement with several other towns and cities (Wappinger, Fishkill, Beekman, etc.) to have one company perform a joint revaluation of our properties. I believe that the concept and reasons for the reval are sound and, to be sure, this is a huge undertaking, eight cities and towns. Also, I do not think that there is anyone that does not agree that the computer program that MJW has developed is truly an excellent program. I do think that there have been problems with the “on - the - ground” data collection of the firm and their response.

What I am furious about is that Mr. Watch (of MJW) refused to take into account issues and concerns raised by our Assessor (who is, herself, a very experienced and recognized assessor) in the weeks before the mailing. When I was told Thursday afternoon that the mailers were going out regardless of our concerns I tried in vain to contact Mr. Watch. I did finally reach him Friday morning (to be honest, it was better that I did not see him in person). He kept trying to change the subject, but I pointed out in no uncertain terms that when our Assessor has a problem with his values, it is his responsibility to address that problem.

The issue with the mailing this last week is twofold. One, I think that the time frames established early - on in this process were difficult to maintain and did not allow adequate time to review the data (yet, problems identified were not always corrected by MJW). Still, the time frames were designed to allow a significant period to address and change values that are in question (myself, I would have allowed much more time for review so that there was less needed for correction; but, that is me).

I am not an assessor but I have learned a lot about the subject in the last few weeks. The Town Tax Assessment Rolls have to be certified by our Assessor and the New York State Office of Real Property. Although Mr. Watch is a contract vendor for the Southern Dutchess Consortium that is doing the reval, MR. WATCH IS NOT, NOR WILL HE EVER BE, THE TOWN OF EAST FISHKILL ASSESSOR, and it is only the Assessor that has the authority to certify the tax rolls.

That said; it is now up to our Assessor’s Office to review the valuations of those parcels that are in question. So, what do you do? If there are questions regarding your assessment; first, call the number on the assessment mailer, then notify our Assessors at 226-6353 or stop in. Our Assessors have a big task in front of them, but know that our people will work to make this fair – please have patience and understand that this will be resolved. Thank you.

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