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Town of Potsdam taxpayers voice dissatisfaction with revaluation

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

Assessor James P. Snyder held informal meetings with nearly 250 taxpayers 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 last year’s figures until a more fair revaluation process could be enacted.

Board members were quick to point out the assessment roll is the assessor’s sole responsibility. 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.

Gregory T. Freitag said there were numerous errors in his assessment.

His house does not have a full basement, but the assessment shows 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.

Board members did not voice an opinion on the assessment’s accuracy or necessity.

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

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

“I will wait until the board of review has had their say,” she said, adding the final roll has not been filed. “We need to wait until the end of the process.”

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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