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Push to suspend Assessment Equity Improvement Project in Lockport shot down

Posted at 12:35 AM, Mar 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-24 09:14:01-04

LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WKBW) — A push to pause property reassessments in the City of Lockport has been shot down.

Common Councilman Mark Devine, who represents the city's Third Ward, proposed suspending the city's Assessment Equity Improvement Project in his district.

The city's common council voted down Devine's resolution to suspend the project Wednesday night in a four to two vote.

But Devine says people in his district are having trouble making ends meet and the project would only put further financial strain on them.

"We got really hit hard with the assessment," said Devine. "Some of the sections of the city are possibly a little more affluent — say you had a $150,000 home and you're looking to better yourself. Even with that type of home, well, you're not going to get into a bidding war with a $200,000 house."

According to the city, the assessment equity improvement project — implemented in 2020 — involves routine, periodic property reassessments in order to ensure property owners are paying the right amount in taxes.

The city completed its data collection phase of the project over the course of 2020 and began mailing information to homeowners on the data it collected at the end of January 2021 to make sure it was accurate.

Homeowners in Devine's district told 7 News since the assessment equity improvement project began, their property values have shot up at a disproportionate rate. The last time the city reassessed property values was more than 10 years ago.

"It went all the way up to $130,000," said Scott Cercone, who's lived on Hawley Street since 1989. "There's no way that my property has increased $90,000 over 10 years."

Cercone says his property is currently worth $40,000 and expects it to ultimately increase to no more than $50,000.

"You can't take pictures of people's homes and say what it's worth based on a couple of sales when you're not including a lot of the lower sales," he said.

You can learn more about the Assessment Equity Improvement Project here.