December 13, 2005

Issues around three-year assessments

This morning's Ithaca Journal includes an editorial reminding readers that shifting to a three year assessment cycle is not tax relief, but still generally supporting it. The Journal summarizes the reason County Legislator Mike Lane has supported the change:

Critics make several arguments. Lane has said the annual process of assessments and challenges is overwhelming local residents - too many changes, too fast, with too much effort needed to constantly battle against a rising real estate tide. People, Lane warns, are getting weary and angry. ... Still others, Lane included, have said the annual increases in assessments have made it too easy for local governments to hide their true taxing habits.

I was a supporter of annual assessments, and still think that in a perfect world they would make better sense. Unfortunately, I've watched local (Dryden) government officials leave tax rates the same while merrily collecting the extra levy money from assessment increases. While I would love all tax reporting to discuss primarily changes in the levy, the recent regular increase in assessments has been an opportunity for officials to talk about rate changes and obscure what's actually happening.

The other reason I see to change is the burden that an annual appeals process places on property owners. Appealing an assessment change is a large project, and doing it frequently has to be wearing.

In county news, the new $17.5 million public safety communications network seems close to approval.

Posted by simon at December 13, 2005 12:35 PM in ,
Note on photos