TICONDEROGA - Expecting strong reaction following a property revaluation, the Ticonderoga town board moved its March 11 meeting to LaChute Hall to accommodate the large crowd.
It was unnecessary.
About a dozen people attended the meeting and only three addressed the assessment issue.
Assessments in Ticonderoga will increase by an average of 27 percent following a revaluation of the town. It's the first reval since the Ti town board declared an assessment moratorium five years ago.
Matt Fuller, town attorney, opened the meeting by explaining the role of the town board in assessments.
"Constitutionally, the town board's role in the assessment process is limited," he said. "The (state) legislature gave that authority to assessors in the interest of separation of powers. The only role for the town board is paying for the assessments."
The attorney stressed the town board has no authority to intervene in the assessment process.
Fuller went on to outline the steps people can take to challenge their new assessments.
Despite Fuller's explanation, a few people asked the town board to step in and halt the recently completed property reval.
"If people have questions, concerns or other issues, please go see the assessor," Ti Supervisor Deb Malaney urged.
The board reminded residents assessments do not raise taxes - only spending does that.
Trustee Wayne Taylor urged people to attend town board budget workshops in the fall and offer input on taxes at that time.
While town assessments are up 27 percent, each of Ticonderoga's 3,635 parcels were valued individually.
As a result, some older homes on Lake George Avenue and large land owners outside the hamlet along with lakefront properties saw significant increases as did commercial property near the intersection of Routes 9N and 74.
Most commercial property in town saw little change in assessment.
Assessments are determined by collecting data - square footage, construction style, acreage, location, etc. - on properties and entering that information into a computer program, which then compares that property to recent sales of similar parcels. Those recent sales set market value - and assessments.
Ticonderoga's values are based strictly on comparable sales within Ticonderoga, Assessor Patti Osier said.
Nationally home values have dropped 14 percent during the recession, Osier said, but Essex County is an exception to the national trend.
Residents who disagree with their assessment or who have questions are encouraged to call Osier. Contact information is included in the tax assessment impact notices that were mailed March 1.
After meeting with Osier, people who still disagree with their assessment can go to Grievance Day and appeal to the assessment board of review. Information on Grievance Day procedures is also available in the tax assessment impact notices.