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NISKAYUNA: Revals running on track

Local taxes can be a hot-button issue, but after more than two weeks of banging on doors and talking to local homeowners, officials involved in Niskayuna's property revaluation say everything is on track.

The positive report comes as GAR Associates, the private consulting firm hired to do the fieldwork, has made it through two separate portions of the suburban community's tax rolls.

The door-to-door data collection began on Monday, June 4, and it's expected to last for several more months before wrapping up after the summer is over.

Right now, they are going from house to house verifying the information received in response to a survey that was mailed to every property owner, and I haven't heard any complaints so far, said town board member Bill Chapman.

Once the updated information is compiled on each property in town, the consultants will work with Town Assessor Amy Houlihan and her staff to develop revised tax rolls for next year.

"The team with GAR Associates that is out there on the street is not doing the interiors of homes," Houlihan said. "They're just checking to make sure that the information we have is correct. Almost all of the digital pictures we need for the properties have been taken and everything is moving along very smoothly. I'm not sure exactly when they will be finished but, to be on the safe side, I would expect it to be completed by the end of September.

"Everyone should keep in mind that the data collection being done now will not have any impact on the tax bill they are going to receive this year," Houlihan said. "None of that information will be used until we are putting together the tax bill for 2008. And if they have any complaints or any concerns about what is going on or how it is being handled, they should just call my office. I will be happy to answer any questions they might have."

The smooth sailing comes as local property owners filed dramatically fewer tax grievances than they did last year, Houlihan said.

"It was a very light grievance year," she said. "There were only 45 of them this year compared with 62 last year so it will be a little easier for us to prepare the final tax roll for 2007. We should have that done by the end of June."

Local school districts then have until August to set their official tax rates for the year.""

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