Town of Fleming May 2019

The Fleming town board discusses the first property value reassessment in more than 30 years during its meeting Monday.

FLEMING — The town of Fleming is wrapping up its first reassessment since the 1980s, with a grievance meeting for property owners looking to contest their assessments scheduled for later this month.

Town Assessor Jeff Bartholomew told the town board Monday that the reassessment process, which began in early 2018, has been completed and the town's equalization rate is now properly at 100%.

The new rate means property assessments are now at full market value. Previously, the state calculated the town's equalization rate at 35%, meaning assessments were only at that percent of their market value.

According to the 2019 tentative assessment roll from the Cayuga County Department of Real Property Services, the town's grand assessed total went from $105,748,847 in 2018 to a tentative $303,129,812.

The grand total includes taxable, special franchises, utilities and wholly exempt property.

To complete the reassessment, Bartholomew said he used several software solutions to compare values to 147 property sales made in the town between 2013 and November 2018.

The state Department of Taxation and Finance recommends towns complete a reassessment every three years, but cannot enforce that if a town's board does not approve the process.

After going without a reassessment for decades, the town board, including the then newly-elected Supervisor Donald Oltz and two new board members, voted to proceed with the reassessment in January 2018.

According to the state taxation department's official website, the reassessment process ensures that taxpayers do not pay more or less than their fair share of taxes by bringing all properties up to the same level of assessment.

Bartholomew said that the change in assessments would allow the county's property tax rate to decrease to approximately $8 per $1,000 of assessed value from $23 per $1,000, although that would be offset by the overall increase in assessment.

Property owners were previously able to schedule one-on-one meetings with Bartholomew to discuss their revised assessments. On May 28, property owners will be able to formally contest their assessments before a five-member grievance panel.

At the meeting Monday, several residents and town board members praised Bartholomew's work throughout the process, describing it as fair and even-handed.

More information on the town's reassessment is available at townoffleming.com/departments/reassessment_information.php.

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Staff writer Ryan Franklin can be reached at (315) 282-2252 or ryan.franklin@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @RyanNYFranklin