Chenango considers county-wide assessment again

NORWICH – At least one town leader has welcomed Board of Supervisors Chairman Richard B. Decker’s New Year’s resolution to consider setting a countywide property assessment rate. Others, however, question the legality of the proposal and its potential burden on taxpayers.

The subject came up at the conclusion of Monday’s monthly meeting where legislators convened for a short, 26 minutes to kick off 2007. Town of Smyrna Supervisor James B. Bays said he was both “pleased and surprised” to hear the board would be investigating a countywide assessing function this year. The Democrat reminded the board that it had investigated doing so back in the late 1980s. “What prompted this (again) now?” he asked Decker.

The suggestion came after discussions with several supervisors who questioned their town’s assessments and equalization rates when compared to other municipalities in the county, Decker said.

“I’m neither for it nor against it,” the North Norwich Republican said.

The topic will be raised within the next few months at the Finance Committee level. Decker welcomed any municipal leaders who wanted to be a part of the discussion to attend Finance sessions at any time.

“The first step, obviously, is to analyze what we have now,” Committee Chairman Lawrence Wilcox, R-Oxford, said. Wilcox occasionally raised the subject of assessment inequalities during his first year as committee chair last year.

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