Johnstown to consider revaluation

JOHNSTOWN – The city is considering doing a property revaluation of all Johnstown properties and will hear a presentation at the Common Council meeting Tuesday at City Hall.

Public speakers from GAR Associates of Amherst, Erie County, are on the agenda for the council’s monthly business meeting, which begins at 7 p.m.

“The city is considering a reval,” city Assessor Frank Parker confirmed today. “This is a company that does that.”

Mayor Michael Julius said today that because the city’s equalization rate isn’t 100 percent, one-third of the property owners in Johnstown are paying too much in taxes and one-third aren’t paying enough. Only about a third are paying an appropriate amount.

“It’s [reval] something that we need to be doing,” he said. “We have to get the properties to 100 percent valuation.”

He said the city budgeted about $75,000 in its 2014 budget for the revaluation.

Julius said Finnegan Associates – a now-defunct Massachusetts-based firm that did a countywide revaluation in 1990 – did a “lousy job,”

“We’re trying to get a hold of the tax situation better in Johnstown,” he said.

The current state equalization rate in the city – the rate properties are assessed at for true value – is 73 percent. A revaluation usually brings that true value up to 100 percent, meaning properties are assessed at their market value.

Gloversville has an equalization rate of 105 percent, after having gone through a revaluation.

According to its website, GAR Associates Inc. has been working with municipalities providing reassessment support for over 30 years. The company also offers a sustaining equity program, public relations and education programs, tax certiorari support services, project management and project design, a needs analysis audit, and ongoing assistance with office and field assessment functions.

Fulton County officials have noted equalization rates among the county’s municipalities in recent years are at historic lows. Low equalization rates in place for 2013 included Caroga at 46 percent, Oppenheim at 57 percent and Perth at 61 percent.

Also on Tuesday night’s council agenda:

The council will consider accepting bids for surplus equipment

A separate proposed resolution is on the agenda to offer surplus equipment for private sale because no bids were received.

Another bidding resolution calls for the rejection of a bid for surplus equipment.

The council will consider advertising for a consultant for its new NY Main Street Program Grant. The council in January approved the $200,000 state grant agreement to improve downtown. The city now will work with local businesses and property owners to see if they are interested. The city in December was awarded the grant to revitalize downtown by providing streetscape improvements and grants to owners on East and West Main streets to renovate their buildings.

Another proposed resolution on the agenda is to approve project selection criteria for the NY Main Street Program Grant.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at