To the Editor:
I have been in the North Country for a very long time. Never, in my memory, have I ever seen anything like these recent property assessments. These are not the previous assessments that would go up by a few hundred bucks - some of these are in the upper stratosphere -20-30 thousand (and some considerably higher) all at one crack.
And do not give me this nonsense about state mandates saying that assessments should be brought up to the real value of property ---many of these assessments go way beyond that. The state government lives in its own little bubble down there in Albany - not in rural Northern New York. Try selling some of these properties up here at the value listed on the assessment, and buyers will have a laugh at your expense.
And another item, the assessment letter and later the town board tried (with a straight face) to reassure everyone that a rising assessment “does not necessarily mean higher taxes.”
Do not kid yourselves. Every time there is a raise in assessments, the town, county, village and school district sees a bigger tax base, and away we go. With this particular assessment, it will be a wild “Bonanza!” Stand by- the first tax to be affected by this assessment will be the school district in September --the biggest tax of any. Now, those folks on our local school board were the ones arrogant enough to break the 2 percent tax cap just last year. My guess is that they are already licking their chops and will very shortly begin reinstating some things and teaching personnel in the upcoming budget due for a vote this coming May. Whether we really need these things and people or not, we will get them, unless we violently object - will we? And most certainly, the county, town, and village will follow their example. Think – What’s in your wallet?
To some in this village and town, all of this means nothing. These folks are already making big salaries with big jobs, and have the promise of raises still to come. To those of us who are on fixed and/or low incomes - pensions, Social Security, etc. - it is a disaster in the making. Especially if one spouse passes on and one survivor is left facing one pension, one Social Security check, and an enormous set of property taxes from school, county, town and village.
Would anybody like to again consider the dissolution of one of those governments and its taxes? We had one chance just two years ago, and a number of self-interests threw every “bogeyman” that they could think of into convincing us to vote otherwise. With every passing year, that idea keeps sounding better and better. Is it time now?
Dick Hutchinson, Potsdam