Grievance Day: Amherst residents look to lower property assessments

AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) – Hundreds of Amherst residents are challenging the assessed value of their homes as many are still fuming over an 11% tax increase in the town and concerned about paying higher property taxes.

Tuesday is “Grievance Day” in the Town of Amherst, as well as many other communities, a day that residents can contest the assessed value of their homes or businesses in person. In order to contest the assessed value of your home, Amherst residents need to get their information in by 8 p.m. Tuesday night. People are advised to include comparable sales and pictures of your home.

Residents in Amherst and Williamsville are meeting with the Amherst Assessment Review Board which is made up of local real estate agents and builders — trying to convince them to lower the assessed value of their home.

“Where they’re assessing us and what they’re doing, they’re making it even more difficult now for us to sell because people are going to see that assessment and think no way that house is worth that so we don’t know yet it’s day to day right now really,” said William Kleis, an Amherst resident.

Several boards are hearing from residents inside the Northwest Amherst Community Center to make the process move faster. Each resident has about 15 minutes to make their case as to why the assessed value of their home or business should be changed.

“It went from like a little over $200,00 up to $478,000 as far as assessed valuation and I quite honestly, didn’t understand how it got to that point, so we’re having a real good discussion about that trying to find that equitable middle part,” said Mike Frysz, an Amherst resident.

Appointments on Tuesday went on all day and into the night. The assessment board will take in all the information and send out determination letters at the beginning of July. Town officials said they’ve conducted 3,000 informal assessment reviews online and from mail-ins and expect to conduct an additional 300 to 400 formal hearings this week and next.

The assessment board is hearing from residents on Tuesday, Thursday, next Monday and next Wednesday. Assessments determined now will apply to next year’s budget process, which residents hope will be more transparent than this year’s budget process.

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Jeff Preval is an award-winning anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2021. See more of his work here.

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