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Carlton will soon begin data collection for assessments

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 March 2014 at 12:00 am

CARLTON – The town has hired an Amherst firm to collect data on 2,400 properties as part of an effort to update the assessments.

GAR Associates Inc. will be paid $68,000 to visit every property in town. GAR won’t be going inside the houses and buildings, but the firm will be making note of swimming pools, additions, sheds, garages and property improvements, Town Supervisor Gayle Ashbery said today.

The town is working to update its assessment records so accurate and fair values can be designated for the properties. A year ago Carlton was engulfed in controversy when new values for properties were assigned. Residents packed the Town Hall to complain about some of the big increases.

Residents also complained some properties were under-assessed. The town’s records didn’t show all the structures and improvements at some properties with low assessments, town officials said.

The Town Board chose not to re-appoint its assessor and worked out an arrangement with Kendall to share its assessor, Gene Massey.

The board also voted to freeze the assessments at 2012 levels, rather than allow the big increases to take effect. The board voted again to keep the 2014 data at the 2012 numbers, unless there has been an building project at a property.

The Town Board will meet with GAR on April 4, and the firm will present its action plan for the coming months. Besides going door to door, the firm is planning two or three public meetings with residents, Ashbery said.

The updated property data plus the experience of Massey should ensure accurate assessments in the future, Ashbery said.