Roxbury officials commit to land revaluation

By Pauline Liu
It’s official. According to Roxbury Supervisor Tom Hynes, for the first time in 34 years, the town is “working on” the revaluation of its nearly 3,300 land parcels. The issue was not on the agenda at Monday night’s town board meeting, but that’s where Hynes made the revelation, in response to questions from Ed Dalski, who is chairman of the Roxbury Republican Committee. “The assessor is working on that, but it’s going to take a couple of years to start-and-finish,” said Hynes. “Has he started?” asked Dalski. “Yeah, he’s started,” responded Hynes.

Contacted the next day, part-time assessor Bob Breglio acknowledged that he’s started to hold informal discussions with the town board about reassessing the town’s properties, but he explained that the actual reval isn’t slated to begin until July 2013 and won’t be completed until June 2015. 

“Right now, we’re talking about it,” said Breglio. “We can’t do it shotgun and screw it up.” Breglio explained. “It started with my hiring and it says in my contract specifically that we’re doing a reval.” He replaced former assessor Kim Cammer on January 1 of this year.

According to Breglio, Roxbury has not had a formal reval since 1978. He believes that the reassessment will provide taxpayers with some relief. “When we go to full rate, the tax rates will drop significantly, because the ‘pie’ will get much bigger,” said Breglio. “The ‘pie’ will go from 30 percent (current evaluation rate) to 100 percent.”

He expects that by this summer or fall, the town will file a formal reassessment plan with the state. Then, he plans to send out notices to property owners. “We’ll be telling them that in the next 12 to 18 months, someone will be there to talk with them and check that the inventory information about their property (previously recorded by Cammer) is right,” said Breglio. He also holds a part-time job as chairman of the Board of Assessors in the Town of Broome, where he lives.

During the meeting, Dalski, who is also president of the Roxbury Run Country Club, explained that members openly voiced their concerns at a recent board meeting. “We have approximately 90 homes on Roxbury Run and I know of 13 that are for sale, that’s about 15 percent,” he said. “People are quite upset and they’re getting out. Taxes are killing us. The Run is a large portion of our tax base. That’s why a reval is key.” Hynes nodded and said he agreed that this was definitely not a good time to sell a home.

Damage to a road and a bridge near Roxbury Run were also discussed at the meeting. Highway Superintendent Steve Schuman told the town board and the 10 people in the audience, “I’ve got two roads that have taken a beating.” He identified one as Red Kill Road, and the other is Howard Green Road. “We’re going to have to do something with it now that Howard Green Road is being used a lot, because the bridge is closed on county Route 8,” said Schuman. He later told The News that he will need to decide whether to simply patch the roads or “tear up the roads and start all over.”

Dalski explained there is a large tree in the way of the bridge project. He explained it’s in danger of falling and taking Verizon lines down with it. “Verizon has to take a tree down and remove some wiring,” said Dalski. He was told it could be taken care of by July 4. “If they can do it, it will be a miracle,” said Hynes. “Wayne Reynolds (County Public Works Commissioner) said it will take until September.”

In other news, Schuman announced that Roxbury qualifies for over $900,000 in flood repair reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). He explained that the state will be covering 12.5 percent of the costs. “So far, we’ve gotten not quite $3,600 and that’s why I say it’s going to be a while (for reimbursement),” said Schuman. “It’s coming. It’s coming,” responded Hynes.

According to Schuman, the highway department has taken delivery on its new $64,000 Dodge Ram 4500, which is a small dump truck. The new truck replaces the 2003 Chevy 3500, which the town will put out to bid.

Hynes announced a major development on Main Street. The State Department of Transportation is removing dead trees in its right-of-way and a DOT crew will be removing 35-40 trees from Main Street. Hynes explained that since Roxbury is an historic district, DOT will also replant the trees it removes.

Hynes also wanted to remind residents that Saturday, June 2 will be a “Tire Day” at the highway department.
The next town board meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 11 at 7:30 p.m. at town hall.