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ROTTERDAM: GAR draws small crowd

GAR Associates, the Buffalo-based appraisal firm that is doing Rotterdam's revaluation project, started offering informational centers on Tuesday, March 6. Project director Cindy Baire said the response from residents has not been as overwhelming as she expected.

I am pleasantly surprised. Everyone seems to be very well informed, Baire said.

David Barnett and David Carlon, who are also working on the project, joined Baire and town assessor John Macejka and his staff early in the week at Town Hall to answer questions from residents.

"I expected to walk into the building and see a line of people, but we'd be lucky if two people were at the counter at a time, and the phones were ringing steadily, but they were manageable," Baire said.

Disclosure notices of the preliminary assessments were mailed to Rotterdam residents March 1, informing them of their new property values and how much their taxes would change based on information from previous years is included.

Residents who wish to dispute their assessments have until March 23 to set up an informal hearing appointment with GAR Associates.

Baire and two other women were at the Senior Center from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. explaining the assessment process and helping residents who wished to dispute their assessments fill out the right forms.

Baire said residents typically want to know how GAR came up with certain assessments, what will happen to their exemptions, and what they can do to challenge them.

"Everyone has been pretty calm; most people usually just want to make sure they are assessed the same as their neighbors," Baire said.

Rotterdam resident Hilde Knaup is helping GAR Associates during the informational sessions. She went through a training period and now answers questions from residents and tries to address their concerns.

"There have been many questions and many people aren't happy, but once you explain to them what is happening, then they are usually happier. They know what to do and what forms to fill out," Knaup said.

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