Reval Notices Arrive In Cooperstown,
But It Doesn’t Mean Taxes Will Rise
By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.allotsego.com
COOPERSTOWN – If you own a downtown business or high-end mansion, your property taxes may be going up, but don’t jump to any premature conclusions, according to Mayor Jeff Katz.
Property owners in the Village of Cooperstown and Town of Otsego have begun receiving new assessment notices in their mailboxes in the past few days, the result of a joint village-town assessment underway over the past few months.
Some assessments are up, some are down and some are about the same, said Katz, but he cautioned property owners: Whatever happens to your assessment, it may not reflect in the amount of taxes you pay.
Overall, the mayor said he expects to see taxes rise in the business district. In 2007, the time of the last reassessment, Shane Newell’s Field View Development had just won a lawsuit that reduced the assessment on the Key Bank building it owned from $1.2 million to $400,000. Downtown businesses generally were brought in line with that reduction.
Since, however, Katz said sales of downtown buildings have been running ahead of assessment. The same goes for high-end properties, he said: Sales are higher than assessments.
On the other hand, sales of “lakeview” properties like those in Lakeland Shores, as opposed to “lakefront” properties, have been running lower than assessments, which suggests that, as a class, those property owners may see a tax reduction.
Middle-range properties have been selling under assessment, Katz said, suggesting owners of those kinds of properties may also see taxes drop.
But the mayor called any such musings “preliminary.” The rule of thumb, he said, is one-third, one-third, and one-third, the share of taxpayers who see taxes rise, stay the same, or drop.
Katz said some residents expressed concern to him that their values had changed so much between 2014 and 2015, but he pointed out to them that the swing if actually for an eight-year period, given the last reval was in 2007.
The reval initiative came from the Town of Otsego, because there was unhappiness at the hit camp owners received in 2007 just before the bottom fell out of the real-estate market.
Village Assessor Al Keck conducted the review for Cooperstown. The town assessor is Mike Maxwell of Maxwell Appraisal Services, Liverpool.
With budget deliberations for the 2015-16 fiscal year about to begin, Katz said, given new revenues from parking fees and grants, he expects the tax levy – the total raised by property taxes – to remain about the same, adding, “I don’t think it’s going to go down, because we want to fix things.”