How will gas wells affect property taxes?

NORWICH – Lawmakers are beginning to consider the property tax implications for Chenango County in light of the potential windfall from natural gas production in the future.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has permitted companies to drill for gas in 72 wells in towns from Otselic and Smyrna in the north down through Plymouth, Preston and Smithville in the south. Thousands more acres of Bullthistle land is posed to be leased for future drilling or pipeline easements, at prices that could soon reach the $3,000 an acre mark, plus up to 15 percent in royalties.

Local real estate brokers say farmland has already gone from $750 to $1,000 an acre to $2,000 to $2,400.

Chenango County Real Property Tax Services Assistant Director Donald MacIntosh attempted to define New York’s real property tax law as it relates to gas producing properties to members of the full board of supervisors Monday. However, several town leaders questioned specific aspects of it.

“Assessors have a whole manual of procedures to do this (to follow the state’s valuing process),” MacIntosh said. “The value is constantly changing as production escalates and falls off.”

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