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Common Council to vote on tossing out reassessments

April 15, 2019 09:10 pm

HUDSON — The Hudson Common Council is expected to introduce, and possibly vote, on a resolution Tuesday to reject the preliminary assessment roll and terminate its contract with GAR Associates.

The news comes after preliminary full-value assessments were mailed to city property owners beginning March 1. Since then, some residents have reported double, and sometimes triple, increases to their real property assessments.

At about 4:30 p.m. Monday, a final version of the proposed resolution that would pump the brakes on the reassessment process was posted on the city’s website.

Common Council President Thomas DePietro confirmed the resolution calls into question whether GAR Associates of Amherst, which is heading the revaluation process, fulfilled its contract, which was officially filed by the city April 21, 2017.

“Everything is under a deadline, the more quickly we act, the better,” DePietro said.

Formal grievance day is scheduled for more than a month from now — May 28 — for those “not satisfied with the value determination or unable to attend an informal review,” according to the city’s website.

Revaluations began in the summer of 2018. The city’s last revaluation was in 2012.

The resolution points to a number of issues with the way GAR has handled the city’s assessments.

“GAR has failed, to date, to provide data supporting its valuations of properties (other than providing four comparables it used for individual residential property assessments to the individual owners of same, and then only upon such property owner’s request, and on two days’ advance notice via email) included in the aforementioned 2019 Assessment notifications,” according to the resolution.

Under the contract between the city and GAR, city taxpayers are entitled to the supporting data on which their properties were reassessed, according to the proposed resolution.

Many residents complained about inaccurate inventory and other data, unsupportable land assessments and “errors and omissions” in the information published by GAR on its website, according to the resolution.

The contract between Hudson and GAR may be terminated due to the “neglect or breach by the contractor of his material obligations or agreement under this agreement,” according to the contract.

Property owners are expected to see their final, new assessment for the first time on the September 2019 school tax bill. The new value will next appear on the January 2020 city and county tax bill. The preliminary assessments include tax liabilities that are for illustration only, and are not a bill.

On April 5, Hudson residents Peter Meyer, Peggy Anderson and Joseph Holodook submitted a petition to Mayor Rick Rector and DePietro with more than 100 signatures from fellow residents.

The petition called for resolution authorizing Rector, as mayor, to reject the preliminary reassessments by GAR Associates, withdraw the recently released property assessments, correct individual property descriptions, further research and recalibrate provided comparables and adjust assessed valuations so that property maintained by the same owner between 2018 and 2019 is not penalized by an assessment that increases more than 20 percent.

The resolution is not in reaction to that petition, DePietro said. But concerns from a group of citizens led to the resolution, he said.

The Hudson Common Council will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Hudson Area Library, 51 N. Fifth St.