County passes on grant for assessment study

NORWICH – Chenango County is one of a small handful of counties that did not apply for state funds offered late last year to help streamline property tax assessment and collection procedures.

Among the 41 counties awarded portions of the $3.6 million grant last week were Chenango’s neighboring counties of Otsego, Broome, Madison and Cortland. The recipients were announced via Governor David Paterson’s office on March 20.

No county’s application was denied. And although the grant application deadline has already passed, a spokesperson for the New York State Office of Real Property Services said the organization would continue its outreach to local officials.

“We are hoping that Chenango County, along with a handful of other counties that haven’t applied, will take advantage of the opportunity to explore opportunities for reforming the property tax system in their own counties and seeing what changes would be appropriate,” Geoff Glouk said.

Although he couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday, Chenango County Board of Supervisors Chairman Richard B. Decker has called for consideration of a countywide assessment project since 2006. He has specifically voiced an expedient need for more training for local assessors, updated statistical data in the real property tax office and more municipalities to share assessors.

Property taxes in New York State are among the highest in the nation and the property tax system is notoriously complex. There are 1,128 different government entities providing assessments for taxpayers, compared to a national median of 85. In addition, New York is one of only three states that lacks statewide uniform assessment standards.

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