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Regional Archives The Altamont Enterprise, May 28, 2009

Grievance Day
Few challenge assessments in western Albany County

ALBANY COUNTY — A steady stream of property owners trickled in to town halls across western Albany County Tuesday, looking to reduce their assessments.

The fourth Tuesday in May is the state’s annual Grievance Day when citizens appointed to assessment review boards judge assessors’ work.

The year saw no town-wide reassessments in Guilderland, New Scotland, Berne, Knox, Westerlo, or Rensselaerville — and the numbers reflected that.

Forty-two residents of Guilderland presented grievance cases before the board of assessment review on Tuesday, and a further 45 residents dropped off grievance forms. The chairman of the board, Kevin Forbes, said that number represents an average year, up maybe 10 from last year. Guilderland has a population of a bout 35,000.  All residents who filed grievances will receive a decision in the mail within 30 days, said Forbes.

New Scotland, which has a population of roughly 9,000, saw 17 residents, said Donna McGinnis, the assessment clerk, who was surprised at the figure.  The board will meet on June 16 to decisions, she said.

In Westerlo, which has a population of about 3,500, three residents came to grieve their assessments and three mailed in grievances and each have yet to hear the board’s opinion. 

Two people came to the Knox Town Hall with grievances and each was granted some reduction in their assessed home values, said Russell Pokorny, the town’s assessor.  In one case, a member of the board of assessment review went to the person’s home and found that the town didn’t have the square footage quite right, he said. 

“I think we did a really thorough job,” Pokorny concluded.  Knox has roughly 2,800 residents.

Rensselaerville’s board saw about five people, said Ellen Moak, who sits on the board.  They will receive the board’s decision within the required 30 days, she said.  The town’s population is about 2,000.

In Berne, with about 3,000 residents, “It was just a normal year,” said Brian Crawford, the town’s chairman of assessors.  He didn’t know exactly how many people had grieved their assessments, but said, “It was pretty much average.”

Saranac Hale Spencer and Anne Hayden

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