Schenectady County

Schenectady council to discuss reassessment

As the city’s property values fall further out of whack with the city’s assessments, the Schenectady

As the city’s property values fall further out of whack with the city’s assessments, the Schenectady City Council agreed to begin discussing a citywide reassessment.

They will consider the matter on Aug. 4 at their next meeting of committees, which begins at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall.

They had planned to begin talking about it Monday, but the mayor could not make it to the meeting. Councilman Vince Riggi said the mayor asked for a postponement so that he could be part of the discussion.

The city’s assessments are considered to be about 23 percent above market value, according to the 2014 equalization rates set by the state Office of Real Property Tax Services.

According to the office, that means Schenectady’s property values have decreased since the last reassessment in 2009, but were not adjusted downward.

The city did try to make adjustments, beginning in 2012, when officials admitted that assessments were 4 percent too high.

Mayor Gary McCarthy said he hoped to wait on a reassessment until the market “stabilized.”

In the meantime, city officials agreed to a 104 percent equalization rate, which essentially dropped all of the city’s assessments by 4 percent.

But that wasn’t enough, and tax challenges based on unfair assessments have continued to flood City Hall.

Riggi has lobbied hard for a reassessment, but other council members have been silent on their stance.

Dangerous dogs

In other business, the mostly-Democratic council was decidedly lukewarm to a proposal from Republican Assemblyman James Tedisco in regard to dangerous dogs.

He wants a statewide alert system in which each municipality would post on its website a map indicating the general address of dogs determined by a court to be dangerous. The map wouldn’t show specific addresses, but would highlight the block on which the dog lived.

Riggi brought the idea to the City Council, but only one council member professed even mild interest.

Councilwoman Marion Porterfield said she wasn’t “clear” on the proposal, but added that she had fielded calls from concerned residents after a dog was killed by two other dogs that had already been declared dangerous. The other dogs jumped out of a window at their house to attack a dog being walked on the other side of the street, police said.

Porterfield said she was open to finding some response to the incident.

“It is a horrific situation that occurred,” she said. “There is some major concern. We need to address it in some way.”

But other council members did not even comment on Riggi’s proposal, and Public Safety Committee Chairman John Mootooveren did not call for a vote.

The council also heard the results of a 30-day comment period regarding a $28,000 grant for the Police Department. The department plans to spend $1,000 on neighborhood watch materials, $8,200 on upgrades to its interview room cameras, and $18,800 on a part-time crime analyst.

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