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Niagara Falls considering city-wide reassessment

Posted at 11:27 PM, Sep 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-07 15:06:02-04

Hundreds in Niagara Falls are livid. At Tuesday's city council meeting, one by one, people stepped up to speak out about a potential city-wide reassessment. 

For homeowners and business owners it could mean a big change in how much they pay in taxes.   

“People are moving out already, and if they do that,” said Mary, a Niagara Falls resident about the reassessment. “More people are going to move out. More are going to go.”

“We can't afford (any) more taxes. We're cash strapped. We'll run out of casino money. People will move out of the city,” said Dorothy West of Niagara Falls.

According to a recent study, residential properties in the city are only receiving 91% of taxes from market value. It should be 100%. From businesses, the city is only receiving 56% of market value.  

“It becomes fair and equitable for everybody. And right now, there are some people who are paying their fair share and there are others that aren't,” explained Chairman Andrew Touma of the Niagara Falls City Council. 

Niagara Falls is already considered one of the most heavily taxed cities in the nation. If a reassessment would happen, each homeowner would be effected differently. 

“They pay a lot of money in taxes. We get it. But, we just want to level the playing field to make sure it's equitable,” said Touma.

Some just feel this a way for city to accrue money.

“I think the real the real intention is to raise taxes. I think they need to get their budget in order before they think about raising taxes. I think it's more of a ploy to plug up budget gaps,” said former Niagara Falls mayoral candidate Robert Pascoal.

The council says due to the tax cap, they can't take any more money from is city's residents. 

As for when a reassessment could happen, that's not really clear. The city council says they are moving as slow as possible to give as much time to provide information to the people of Niagara Falls.