Reval process moves to next stage

| 22 Feb 2012 | 07:54

    Vernon — After months of work, the property reassessment process is finally coming to an end, according to Lynne Schweighardt, Vernon’s municipal assessor. But the appeals process is just beginning. At the town council meeting held last Thursday, Schweighardt reported that letters will be going out to residents in waves. Letters have gone out to residents of the Great Gorge condominiums. The appeals process will have two layers, an informal meeting, in which residents will meet with the appraisal company — Realty Appraisal Company, located in West New York, N.J. — and review the valuation of their home. Following that, the results of the assessment will be certified by the company and turned over to Schweighart, and the formal hearing process can begin. Formal appeals must be in by May 1. Informal hearings were slated to have begun this past Tuesday, with appointments set up from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. from Tuesday through Saturday at various locations in the municipal building. Residents will be able to review the information that the valuation company has on file about their homes, see which homes were used as comparable values and discuss their appraisal with the staff. The time period set for the valuation is the year ending September 30, 2008, which was chosen to work with the recent economic troubles. “We are being as careful as we can be as to what the true value is,” said Schweighart. “We are very aware of the economic situation.” The only residents who cannot appeal the valuation are any owners who barred the inspectors from their property. Because entrance was refused, the appraisers gave the highest value possible to those properties, but if the owners disagree with the valuation, they will have to make an appointment for a visit by the inspectors before it can be changed. Surprisingly, 3 percent of the property owners in the town refused to let them in. Setting the new tax rate What effect will this revaluation have on property taxes? Vernon’s municipal assessor Lynne Schweighardt says she cannot give a definite answer until the tax appeal process is completed, but thinks that many people will be pleasantly surprised at the result. The final tax rate won’t be set until after the budgets have been finalized by the county, school district and the town, no sooner than April, so the impact won’t be felt right away. But when it is, Schweighart asks that residents consider factors they may not have thought of before they fight an assessment. “When people look at their assessments, they have to look at their neighborhood as well. Neighborhoods go up and down in value. While any house in town can be used as a comparable, they try to use the closest home in the most similar neighborhood.”