TOWN OF NORTH HARMONY
SPECIAL TOWN BOARD MEETING
TUESDAY, 9/17/2019 6:00 PM
ROBERT YATES, SUPERVISOR PRESENT
DICK SENA, COUNCILMAN PRESENT
DUNCAN MCNEILL, COUNCILMAN PRESENT
LOUISE ORTMAN, COUNCILWOMAN PRESENT
STEVE SENSKE, COUNCILMAN PRESENT
OTHERS PRESENT: Kevin Okerlund, Assessor; Nancy Thomas, Town Clerk
Mr. Yates said the purpose of this meeting is to meet and reappoint the Assessor. He said we had not received any 2020 budget request from Busti with whom we contract for our Assessor services.
Mr. Sena asked Mr. Okerlund to speak regarding recent changes in the Assessor’s office and to discuss the future as it relates to a revaluation.
Mr. Okerlund said he has been in the profession for 29 years and currently is assessor for 11 municipalities in the County. He said their Appraiser, Kim Meleen has moved to a new position at the County as Assistant Director for Real Property Tax Services and Steve Sorg has taken her place. He said Mr. Sorg has been a certified NYS Real Estate Appraiser for 30 years and is working out very well. He said they are currently doing a revaluation for Chautauqua, Ellicott and Busti. He said as far as a revaluation for North Harmony, that is entirely up to the board. He said our current equalization rate is 93.75% (residential at 90% and vacant land at 80%) and our last revaluation was in 2013 or 2014. He said he recommends a revaluation when the equalization rate drops below 90%. He said in his opinion the only reason for a revaluation is to maintain equity for fairness of assessing.
Mr. Sena said he appreciates the transfer/sale of property reports the Assessor provides each month, but what he is noticing is that a lot of properties are being improved and not reassessed.
Mr. Okerlund said he located 4 properties in North Harmony that are not on the roll (one since 2012). He said they are receiving permits from Mr. Lawson on a regular basis and Mr. Sorg will be out surveying them. He said someone can put $100,000 into renovating the inside of a home and as the Assessor has no authority to enter a home, that cannot be added to assessment, but if an addition goes on, that paperwork comes to them from Mr. Lawson and the value will be added to the assessment. He said one sale does not make a market, so one sale on the lake of double the assessed value does not always reflect negatively on the entire neighborhood. He said they will analyze the sale to make sure it is a valid arm’s length transaction and if they find that the interior has been renovated, they will throw the sale out because there has been a change since taxable status.
Mrs. Thomas asked how you find out that an interior has been renovated since you cannot go inside the home.
Mr. Okerlund said they can use Realtor.com and find out lots of information on homes for sale. He said there is also the multiple listing service that allows them to go in and get realtor’s comments on properties. Mr. Okerlund noted that vacant land is also increasing in value county wide, especially farmland.
- MOTION # 106 OF 2019
- SENA MOTIONED TO RE-APPOINT KEVIN OKERLUND AS ASSESSOR FOR THE TOWN OF NORTH HARMONY FOR A SIX (6) YEAR TERM EFFECTIVE (10/1/2019 – 9/30/2025). MR. SENSKE SECONDED. YES (5): SENA, MCNEILL, ORTMAN, SENSKE, YATES. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- MOTION # 107 OF 2019
ON A MOTION MADE BY MR. MCNEILL, SECONDED BY MR. SENA, AND WITH NONE BEING OPPOSED, THE MEETING WAS ADJOURNED AT 6:15 PM.