Schenectady County

Schenectady assessment info available online

The unusually thorough city reassessment is going through one more accuracy test before final proper

The unusually thorough city reassessment is going through one more accuracy test before final property values are released to the public.

From now through the end of the year, property owners can go online to find out exactly what information Assessor Patrick Mastro is using to determine their new assessments.

Mastro wants to know if they see any errors.

“We would like to make it right before we finalize our numbers,” he said. “Hopefully if people look at it and they see anything they view as an error, they can call us.”

Residents can view their information at and, if they find any errors, can report them by calling 382-5076.

Unlike the county’s property assessment Web site, owners cannot simply type in an address to find their data. They must open a large file that lists every property in the city, organized alphabetically by street.

It’s a cumbersome process, but it’s better than it used to be. Until now, owners had to go to City Hall during business hours and wait in line to use the single computer in the assessor’s office or dig through a box of filing cards to find their property’s data card.

Mastro previously objected to putting that data online, citing privacy concerns. But he decided the Web could help him weed out errors.

The system is already working.

“One person called up and said, ‘I don’t have five half-baths,’ ” Mastro said. “That was just a data entry error. That’s a quick fix.”

He warned that he won’t change data just because a resident disagrees with it. Some residents have already objected to their new house style — Mastro found that many properties were incorrectly described as “old style” — and others have tried to insist that he determine their square footage by measuring the interior of their house.

“Some people have a hard time understanding that our total square footage isn’t the same as theirs,” Mastro said. “We use exterior measurements. Even in the appraising business, it’s exterior measurements. You have to have a standard, and that’s it.”

As for house styles, he said many homes were wrongly classified as old style in past assessments.

“They just weren’t old style. Some of them were bungalows, some of them are capes. If you want an image in your mind of what an old style looks like, take a look at the classic Schenectady two-family,” Mastro said. “A lot of them are old style.”

Mastro plans to release the new assessments in January. His goal has been to complete an error-free assessment, which he has driven home to his employees by describing the lengths to which the public and the media will go to find embarrassing errors once the assessments are announced.

As he nears the finish line, he said he’s happy with the results so far.

“It’s going to be a good reval,” he said.

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