Council To Vote On Revaluation Resolutions

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The reassessment process for properties in the city could start this year if the Jamestown City Council approves two resolutions Monday.

The council is slated to hold its voting session meeting at 7:30 p.m. on the second floor of the Jamestown Municipal Building, located at 200 E. Third St., Jamestown, with two of the resolutions dealing with hiring GAR Associates for $285,000 for revaluation services.

Earlier this month during council work session meetings, there were discussions on whether this year was the best to start a revaluation process in the city. According to Lisa Volpe, city assessor, if the city waits another year to do the reassessment, it might cost the city an additional $400,000 because of how old data is on properties in Jamestown.

“Because New York state only allows you to use data for six years, and since it’s been 15 (since the last revaluation), they were willing to let it go this year, but next year they’re going to want an entire project, and the previous project cost $1 million, but (GAR Associates) is able to get it down because New York is acknowledging what they now have,” Volpe said.

Earlier this month, Kim Ecklund, At-Large councilwoman, said there are still questions that need to be answered before the council votes on the proposal. Volpe said, if the revaluation isn’t started by March 1, the city will have to wait until next year to start. If that is the case, the revaluation won’t be completed until 2024.

Also earlier this month, Jeff Russell, At-Large councilman, asked Volpe why the city doesn’t do the reassessment of property in-house. Volpe said the city’s assessors office doesn’t have the staff necessary to meet the state’s timetable to do the revaluation program on its own.

Russell said residents who have recently purchased a house in the city of Jamestown for more than the asking price because of low-interest rates are concerned about the revaluation. He said that he is worried the revaluation might drive people out of the city.

Last fall when the reassessment was first discussed by the council, Volpe said the last time a reassessment was done the total assessed property value in the city increased 263%. She said performing a reassessment could also lower the city’s tax rate.

Volpe said a house assessed at $70,000 that saw no change in its value could see a tax decrease of $112. She said the equivalence rate in the city is 93%, which contributes to a higher tax rate due to inequity in values.

In other business:

¯ The council is scheduled to vote on four resolutions dealing with appropriating American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for economic development. One resolution will authorize city officials to use $1.5 million of federal stimulus money toward assisting businesses with purchasing equipment and machine upgrades.

Another resolution will be to allocate $1.5 million in ARPA funds for building and property infrastructure improvements.

A third resolution will be to approve $750,000 in federal funding for internet technology improvements for city businesses.

The fourth resolution will be to allocate $200,000 for a small business grant program that will assist restaurants, retail and personal service businesses.

¯ The council is also scheduled to vote on several other resolutions to allocate ARPA funds toward improvement projects and new equipment.

One of the projects will be the Chadakoin River Stabilization project, with the city proposing to hire the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy for $277,500 to oversee phase one work, which will include clearing debris and removing dead trees.

In December, the council approved a resolution designating $277,750 of American Rescue Plan Act funds for phase one of the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy Chadakoin River Stabilization project. Twan Leenders, Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy’s ecological restoration manager, gave a presentation to the council regarding the worrisome state of the Chadakoin River within city limits.

Leenders said there are 3 1/2 miles of river that have not received attention in a while. He pointed out various portions of this section of river that have broken retaining walls, areas that require some type of retaining system, and other areas where water is running over and through areas.

In other areas, there are exposed banks that have been caving in over the years due to the current from the river. In one photo, Leenders explained that a homemade wall of old tires and the trees that had grown in between them were the only things keeping the bank up in that section of the river.

The overall projected budget totals $633,908 for the two-year project. This includes five phases: debris removal and tree clearing, invasive vegetation removal, revegetation of exposed banks, risk assessment, plan development and outreach and emergency bank stabilization.

The council is also slated to vote on possibly allocating $180,000 of ARPA funds for a 5-foot-wide handicap accessible path at Nordstrom Park. Earlier this month, Dan Stone, city parks manager, said the path is needed for the future playground planned at the park to make it handicap accessible.

The council could also possibly vote on approving ARPA funding of $36,075 to go toward internet technology improvements; $30,000 for new park signs; $30,000 for new ball field mix for six baseball fields; and $14,000 for new hand dryers at city parks.

Earlier this month, Ecklund said if all the resolutions are approved, the council will have approved $3.1 million of the $28 million the city will receive in ARPA funds in the past few months on city projects, new equipment and vehicles, and building maintenance.

Published by The Post-Journal

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