The Granville Town Board’s March 11 meeting got off to a rugged start during town assessor Vicky Hayner’s report to the board read by town supervisor Matt Hicks over Zoom.
“Due to the problems with the software that is used from New York State, it is not going to be possible to send out the disclosed notices as previously reported,” Hayner’s letter said.
As reported in the Feb. 18 edition of the Sentinel, Granville town and village taxpayers were intended to receive impact statements from Hayner with “to the cent” numbers of what the individual home-owning taxpayer’s bill would increase or decrease by and what they will be paying.
With a bit of miscommunication, board member Matt Rathbun was given further clarification from Hicks at the meeting, despite Hicks saying he provided the board members with Hayner’s letter three days before the meeting.
“Her report is saying, ‘as previously stated, I cannot make that happen.’ So it will say (for example) ‘your assessment has gone from $100,000 to $110,000.’ That’s all you’re going to find out for now. She was hoping to put at the bottom of that letter (referring to example) ‘and that means your taxes will change from $461 to $457.’ That’s not going to happen now,” Hicks said.
Rathbun responded by asking Hicks if this malfunction that stems from a state system is affecting every town in New York.
“Every town in the state is going through the same thing? Is that true, if it’s a state software problem?” Rathbun asked.
“Matt, I don’t know. I don’t know, if you want the answers you should call the assessor,” Hicks said.
“I’m discussing it between board members because when we get calls, “how come I don’t know my assessment?”, I just want to know what the answer is,” Rathbun responded. “Should I say, ‘because the state screwed up and the whole state is like that’ or is it just Granville or is it Washington County, what is it?”
Hicks, raising his voice, provided Rathbun Hayner’s cell phone number once again to contact her with his questions.
“I don’t know the answer, Matt,” Hicks said. “If you had asked me three days ago I would have talked to her and found the answer.”
Hayner was able to explain the “quirk” in the system being unique to only the towns and counties that adapted to the Real Property System Version Four (RPS-V4) software.
“If they haven’t updated to the new fix, they won’t have a problem,” Hayner said.
Taxpaying homeowners should expect cover letters and a change of assessment notice from Hayner on March 19. Starting on April 8, the board aims to return to in-person meetings rather than virtual-meetings held over Zoom. All board members were comfortable with returning to the “normal” setting at the Granville offices on Main Street.