Landowners balk at assessment increases

GAR tells property owners to schedule preliminary hearings for possible adjustments

— Large landowners in the Town of Bethlehem who were unhappy with their preliminary assessment came out in force to speak out against the reassessment project last week.

Assessments were mailed out at the end of March. Some residents said they saw a jump in their assessment as high as 500 percent, and many said they did not know how they would come up with the money to pay next year’s tax bill. The town had a representative from GAR Associates, the firm handling the project, on hand to answer questions at the Wednesday, April 9, meeting.

“What’s going to happen to the value of my neighbors property ... when we cut down 30 acres of trees?” asked resident Keith Wiggand. “A lot of people here are angry about the amount of money it’s going to cost them, but a lot of people are angry because we have a beautiful town, and in one fell swoop, there are going to be trees cut down all over the place.”

A few other residents said they might also have to log their land, while others said they may opt to sell.

The Town Board decided to go forward with the reassessment project last spring. With the changing market and new development throughout the

town, the hope was the tax burden would shift from residents to commercial properties.

Nearly 56 percent of the town will see a decrease to no raise in taxes next year. Those seeing a large increase were mostly businesses and large landowners.

Many of the landowners said they did not feel their property was evaluated with land that was comparable, while others said some factors, such as soil grade and or utilities were overlooked.

Dave Barnett, from GAR Associates, said the company did not walk every property because there wasn’t enough time, but anyone with additional information that may help their assessment should schedule a preliminary hearing. He also said they did look at comparable properties outside of Albany County, but they tried to get rid of outliers and used an average of the properties.

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keithwiggand 1 year, 9 months ago

The landowners of Bethlehem are under siege.

The people on our Town Board, as well as our Town Supervisor are HYPOCRITES. On the one hand they talk about preserving "OPEN SPACE", "GREEN SPACE", "VIEWSHED", etc., then they reassess "Open Space" so many large property owner's taxes go up 1000% or more.

There is a bigger plan afoot, I can smell it.....

The people of Bethlehem need to email these people and tell them that we MUST delay implementation of this assessment plan so landowners have time to figure out what they can do to save their land.

People, this act by OUR Town Board has forced landowners to reconsider what they want to do with their properties. LARGE tracts of land will be LOGGED. LARGE tracts of land will be SOLD. Many landowners will be forced into BANKRUPTCY.

Look out YOUR windows. I'll bet most of you see TREES and open space.

Is that what We, The People want from this????

I don't think so.

HELP the landowner, it will HELP the homeowner in the long run.

Contact Information:

John Clarkson, Town Supervisor JClarkson@townofbethlehem.org

Jeffrey Kuhn, Town Board jkuhn@townofbethlehem.org

Bill Reinhardt, Town Board breinhardt@townofbethlehem.org

Julie Sasso, Town Board jsasso@townofbethlehem.org

Joann Dawson, Town Board Jdawson@townofbethlehem.org

The telephone number for Town Hall is (518) 439-4955, if you would like to comment directly to the Town Supervisor.



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