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Malta residents balk at reassessment

Notices arrived at the homes of Malta taxpayers Monday, March 3, detailing the townwide reassessment and dictating what will come by way of taxes to homeowners.

Over the past year and half, town officials and an outside firm have scoured Malta's books and neighboring municipalities to bring the rural town's commercial and residential properties up to a 100 percent full market value assessment.

Some property owners will see tax decreases, some will see no changes at all and some will see increases, said Malta Assessor Sue Otis at a Monday, March 3, town board meeting.

After the new assessments arrived via mail that morning, disgruntled taxpayers had already begun filing into the town offices and made appearances at the Monday meeting.

I'm not happy with what I see. I don't think the property values have gone up like my assessment shows, said Bill Goslin of Lucile Lane.

Goslin held up his copy of the letter that showed his property value has increased by 59 percent in two years.

Goslin warned that 59 percent increases are causing people to walk from their homes and Malta, especially as the national housing market continues to slump in the wake of variable mortgage rates. Town officials defended the numbers, stating that Malta and Saratoga County are virtually untouched by the housing crisis and that some residents are pleased by their new assessments.

Malta Supervisor Paul Sausville said he had received letters praising the reassessment and that the homeowners' taxes had gone down.

"If you stand up there and tell me that 60 percent is fair; I have a problem with that," Goslin said.

Board member Sue Nolen said that although Malta has no town taxes, school taxes have become "outrageous." Until teacher's unions accept benefit decreases, town residents are going to continue to foot the bill, she said.

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