GENEVA — The city’s reassessment project is complete, and notices have been mailed to property owners.
As expected, many property owners are seeing increases. However, for some, such as Rossana and Andy Shanklin, the hike is significant.
Responding to a Facebook post by the Finger Lakes Times asking property owners to report their assessments, which came by mail, the Shanklins said their assessment rose nearly 67 percent — from $162,000 to $275,000.
They did not want to comment further on the assessment number.
Andrew “Smitty” Smith said his assessment jumped 33 percent.
“Makes you wonder why you’re still living in the city, no?” he posted on the Finger Lakes Times’ Facebook page.
“We knew it was coming,” said Thomas Laurenza. “Odd years water and sewer rates rise. Even years property taxes rise. Geneva is very consistent.”
However, Adam Blowers, the city’s assistant city manager and comptroller, said a hike in assessments doesn’t necessarily mean taxes will rise.
“I would just like to say that just because your property value increases, it does not mean that your tax bill will increase as well,” he said Monday. “The taxing jurisdictions all have the authority to adjust the tax rate during their budget cycle to offset increases in property value. However, that becomes more unlikely across the state as the cost of daily operations increases and revenues remain stagnant.
“The upcoming (city) budget will be very important based on these concerns, so I encourage people to attend budget work sessions and speak on behalf of what is important to them as we address the 2021 budget in late summer.”
There has been talk that most property values went up an average of 11 percent, but City Assessor Stephen Pigeon did not verify that number by email Monday.
He said a number of factors go into the new assessments.
“The overall summary values have increased due to sales, market rents increasing and the city of Geneva is in a stage of revitalization,” said Pigeon, who is meeting with property owners to discuss their new assessments. “The increases can be about supply and demand. More buyers on the market than inventory for sale. This has increased values of the housing market. The processes used are the three approaches to value. Not all approaches are applicable to every property. The three approaches of value are sales, income, and cost approach.”
MaryAnne Calabrese has a theory on why city property values are climbing.
“What happens is people from other areas come here and grossly overpay for property,” she said. “It affects everyone’s assessments.”
The assessments sent by mail are not the final word, said Pigeon, who is holding informal meetings with property owners until the end of March.
If property owners are unsatisfied with the city’s response to their assessment concerns, the next step is to file a formal complaint. Those complains will be heard by the city’s grievance board, at Grievance Day, June 16.