GUILDERLAND — The town underwent a comprehensive revaluation this past year and found that the value of properties is $4.8 billion.
Guilderland’s Assessor Karen VanWagenen said 2005 was the last time a town wide revaluation was done where all town properties were assessed at 100 percent of their market value; she confirmed there are 12,808 properties in Guilderland today. This year’s revaluation was done because “the state was lowering our equalization rate dramatically” from 88 to 76 percent, she said, which affected property owners’ taxes who live in non-Guilderland school district areas like neighboring Voorheesville and North Colonie.
In the past year, VanWagenen said the town “did a mass appraisal, took an inventory and sent letters out to all our residents to check if our inventory was correct. Basically we compared every single house in town and came up with a property value for everybody.” Such letters were sent out in February, she said, and assessment grievances were looked into and considered on May 28 and 29.
She confirmed that her office received 893 assessment grievances but she acknowledged that since the 2005 town wide revaluation, numerous new property owners have moved into the town and were not used to the revaluation process. “So it can be startling for some people to get a letter saying their value goes up a lot,” she said. “They automatically assume their taxes go up but that’s not necessarily true. To them, it can be a new learning experience. Others also disagree with the value for lots of different reasons.”
It is not clear yet exactly how many of the assessment grievances came from homeowners or as how many assessments were reduced as a result of grievances. VanWagenen said, though, that most of the grievances concerned single-family homes and commercial properties. While Crossgates Mall and Stuyvesant Plaza did not file, most of the town’s smaller neighborhood malls did.
“It was a lot of work and there’s a lot of paperwork that still needs to be taken care of but everyone has been very polite in this process even though there were people who were stunned to see their value numbers,” she concluded. For more information on the town’s Assessor office, visit www.townofguilderland.org/assessors-office.