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Buffalo property owners receive update on city’s 2025 Reassessment Project

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — City officials started touring council districts for their 2025 Reassessment Project Monday night. They first spoke with Fillmore District residents.

The city’s last property revaluation project was implemented in 2020. Since then, city officials said there has been historic growth in property values.

During Monday’s meeting, city officials spoke with neighbors about the timeline, how reassessments are conducted and the impact on property tax.

“It’s good that your property values are going up, you know, it mean things are going great in the city,” said Buffalo Commissioner of Assessment and Taxation Jason Shell. “As far as our standpoint, the assessment is to make sure property tax is split evenly and equitably.”

Buffalo officials and appraisers hired by the city are reassessing more than 94,000 properties and are recalculating property tax bills. They will also conduct what they call “regular reviews” to ensure all properties are assessed accurately.

“Current assessments represent approximately 61 and a half percent of full market value and through market appreciation, the equalization rate has dropped as property values increase,” said reassessment contractor Robert Koszarek.

The city said regular reassessments ensure that all property owners are paying their fair share of the tax burden. However, some neighbors said that isn’t the case.

“In the last reassessment, some of the wealthiest homeowners in the city, they were able to successfully challenge their assessments to much lower than what they were originally assessed for, while at the same time turning around and selling these properties for much more,” said homeowner Amber Powers.

Neighbors at Monday’s meeting said their biggest concern is transparency in this process.

“It’s just something that we wish there was more education about and that everyone was treated fairly,” Powers said.

Starting in September, all property owners will receive a data assessment impact notice in the mail that they can send back if there are any errors. They can then schedule a review session.

“We can’t go in your house. We can’t possibly know what’s in the interior of the house. The onus is on our property owner to say, ‘Hey, you know, you got it wrong,'” Shell said. “We’ll work with them, that’s part of the job, to get it right.”

The new assessed values will be used for the July 2025 property tax bill.

“A third of the property owners’ taxes may go down a little bit, a third may stay about the same and a third may go up,” Koszarek said.

More information on the process, the full Assessment Equity Project presentation and reassessment schedule can be found here or by calling (716) 632-2400.

There are eight meetings left — one for each of the remaining districts. They will all begin at 5:30 p.m.

See the list of meetings below:

South District: Tuesday, July 9, 2024, at Southside Elementary School, 430 Southside Parkway

University District: Thursday, July 11, 2024, at Kensington-Bailey Neighborhood Housing Services, 995 Kensington Ave.

Lovejoy District: Monday, July 15, 2024, at Autumnwood Senior Center, 1800 Clinton St.

Ellicott District: Thursday, July 18, 2024, at the Downtown Branch Library, 1 Lafayette Sq.

Masten District: Thursday, July 25, 2024, at Northland Workforce Training Center (Community Room), 877 E Delavan Ave.

Niagara District: Monday, July 29, 2024, at Richmond-Summer Recreation Center, 337 Summer St.

North District: Tuesday, July 30, 2024, at West Hertel Academy, 489 Hertel Ave.

Delaware District: Thursday, Aug. 1, 2024, at North Buffalo Community Center, 203 Sanders Road

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Dillon Morello is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has been part of the News 4 team since September of 2023. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.

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