Confused, upset over your city assessment? Here is where you can find help

Meetings set on citywide reassessment

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — If you are among the tens of thousands of people in the city confused and upset over the reassessment of your home, there is help.

Here are the next two meetings:

Thursday, January 11, Antioch Baptist Church, 304 Joseph Avenue, 7pm.

Tuesday, January 16, Ark of the Covenant Church, 60 Lorimer Street, 7pm.

The first meeting is Tuesday night, Jan. 9, at Bethel Christian Fellowship, 321 East Ave., and we met the man greeting people at the door.

Brean: “What is it that you’re trying to accomplish tonight?”
Clay Harris, Uniting and Healing Through Hope: “We’re trying to shed a bright light on the city’s reassessing, the whole city.”

Most of the time, Clay Harris tries to solve violence problems. Now he’s taking on assessment problems. He organized a community meeting at Bethel Christian Fellowship Church on East Avenue. We met on the front church steps.

Brean: “There is a sticker shock to this when people get that assessment in the mail and they’re like – I can’t believe this.”
Clay Harris: “They cannot believe that the city would do something of this magnitude when the city is already suffering. We’re still having backlash from COVID which is part of the problem why real estate prices and rent prices have been going up.”

The city does a reassessment on its 64,900 properties every four years. There are what the city calls 132 value neighborhoods.

Michael Zazzara, Rochester City Assessor: “The assessments are based on market value. It’s all based on sales from within the neighborhoods.”

“This is the letter I received from the city,” Duke Hamlin said at his front door.
When Hamlin got his re-assessment letter it showed his went from $118,500 to $202,000.

Brean: “When you saw those figures, what did you think?”
Duke Hamlin, house assessment increased $83,500: “Well, I opened the letter and the $118,500 was an increase from before. So then I thought — man, it just keeps going up. That’s a lot. That’s a big jump.”

Brean: “You think you could sell your house for more than $200,000?”
Duke Hamlin: “I have no idea. I know it’s a hot market. I never thought about asking for that.”

The city has about 1,500 informal challenges already.

The deadline to formally challenge your assessment is March 19.

To allay some stress over your taxes, the city hasn’t raised its tax levy — the amount of money it collects — in five years. If that continues this year with this assessment, the city will have to lower its tax rate.

The city’s budget deadline is July 1.