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Potsdam taxpayers unsatisfied as revaluation moves forward

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POTSDAM - The town’s tentative assessment roll has been filed, and taxpayers once again crowded into a town board meeting to express their displeasure Tuesday.

Assessor James P. Snyder held nearly 250 informal meetings with residents in April, and continues to meet with people as grievance day, May 28, draws closer. These meetings have led to decreased assessments for some, but have done little to ease the ire of the taxpayers at Tuesday’s meeting, who said the process was unfair and had numerous inaccuracies. Town resident Milner A. Grimsled said his assessed value was based on property sales made in 2008, at the peak of the housing bubble.

“Values are not increasing in this town,” he said. “I’d like to see the whole thing thrown out.”

The crowd applauded several such calls for the board to scrap the assessment, reverting to 2012’s figures until a more fair revaluation process could be enacted.

Town board members were quick to point out that the assessment roll is the sole responsibility of the assessor. Although they hired Mr. Snyder and supervise his work, they have no control over his results, according to councilman Michael J. Zagrobelny.

“The town board does not have the ability to overturn the assessment,” he said.

Mr. Snyder was not at Tuesday’s meeting.

Gregory T. Freitag said there were numerous errors in his evaluation. His house does not have a full basement, although the assessment says it does, and although he lives on one of the busiest streets in town the roll listed his location as a low-traffic neighborhood.

“That concerns me, when there’s this pile of errors,” he said.

Norwood resident Laura Potts compared her evaluation to much lower rates in nearby towns like Canton and Stockholm.

“What’s so special about land in Potsdam?” she asked. “I’m going to fight this tooth and claw.”

Board members did not voice any opinion on the accuracy or necessity of the assessment.

“Some of us may not like it, some of us may,” Mr. Zagrobelny told the crowd.

Supervisor Marie C. Regan said she would not voice an opinion until the assessment process is complete.

“I will wait until the board of review has had their say,” she said, adding that the final roll has not yet been filed.

“We need to wait until the end of the process.”

While most speakers expressed their opinion calmly, the meeting did briefly become heated when town resident Robert J. Regan attempted to defend Mr. Snyder. This led to an argument between Mr. Regan and Town of Potsdam Taxpayers’ Association member Bruce L. Konkoski, that ended with Mr. Konkoski telling Mr. Regan to “Sit down and shut up.” Mr. Regan is Mrs. Regan’s husband.

Taxpayers’ Association President Tracey Haggett-Sloan said the revaluation could result in a lawsuit against the town if it remains as it is.

The assessment roll will go before the appointed board of assessment review on May 28, and will be finalized June 1.

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