Susan Driscoll, Assessor

About Your Assessment

Welcome to the Town of Porter Assessment Information Site

WHO IS THE ASSESSOR ?  The Assessor is the official appointed by the Town Board to manage the functions of the assessment office. The main function of the Assessor is to estimate the value of real property within the Town’s borders. This value is converted into an assessment, which is one component in the computation of property tax bills.

The Assessor maintains the assessment roll – the document that contains every property’s assessment. The physical description or inventory, exemption information, and value estimate of every piece of real estate in the municipality is kept up-to-date. The information currently contained on this site is the 2016  Tentative Assessment Roll.  The roll is updated annually.   The only changes that can be made after the filing of the tentative assessment roll (May 1st each year), are through the formal grievance process with the Board of Assessment Review. After the Board of Assessment Review (BAR) has acted on assessment complaints and ordered changes, the tentative roll is made final (July 1st each year).

Assessors are interested only in fairly assessing property in their assessing unit. If your assessment seems correct but your tax bill still seems too high, the Assessor cannot change that. Grievances  to the Assessor or the Board of Assessment Review must be about how the property is assessed. Complaints about high taxes should go directly to the taxing jurisdictions, such as the Town or Village Board, Lewiston Porter or  Wilson School Boards,  or the County Legislature - who set the tax rates. The Assessor does not set tax rates.

WHAT KIND OF PROPERTY IS ASSESSED?  All real property, commonly known as real estate, is assessed. Real property is defined as land and any permanent structures attached to it. Some examples of real property are houses, commercial buildings, vacant land, farms, etc.

HOW IS REAL PROPERTY ASSESSED?  Before assessing any parcel of property, the assessor estimates the percentage of value at which all properties will be uniformly appraised. New York State law provides that all property within a municipality be assessed at a uniform percentage of market value. The selling prices of homes has continued to increase faster than the assessments. The ratio between assessed value and selling prices is what the State of New York uses to determine the uniform percent of value and the equalization rate.  Unless the town does a town-wide reassessment (last done in 2006), no changes to assessed value are made on an annual basis, except for new construction, improvements, alterations, changes in use, inventory corrections, etc.

A property’s value can be estimated in three different ways:
1. Market approach: The property is compared to others similar to it that have sold recently, using only valid sales where buyer and seller both acted without undue pressure. Most residential property is valued using this approach.
2. Cost approach: Calculate what the property would cost, using today’s labor and material prices, to compare a structure with a similar one. This method is used to value special purpose and utility properties.
3. Income approach: Analyze how much income a property, such as an apartment building or a store, would produce if rented. Operating expenses, insurance, financing terms, and expected income streams are some of the factors used in this method.

TIPS ON THE COMPARISON PROCESS:   In comparing properties to yours, it is important to remember that location, style, age and size are critical to the comparison process. You should review sales of similar homes in the same general area and of similar size, and make your adjustments from the sale price of that home. Waterfront properties should be compared with other waterfront properties. If you are comparing other assessments of properties that have not sold, don’t forget to check the data and make the necessary adjustments. BE REALISTIC AND HONEST.

The search engine that provides you with comparable sales on this website are only a tool, and may not be the same as those used in your final value estimate. This is because your estimate was arrived at after careful review of all available comparables and a field review of the exterior of every property. Some of the sales you may find through other assessment sites on the internet may not be valid, arms’ length sales, so be sure that the sales you are using are true market value sales, and not foreclosures, etc.

If you have recently purchased a property in Porter, and if the sale was a true market sale, you can eventually expect your new assessment to be the same as your purchase price. We often hear “Well, I just paid too much”, or “we really wanted the house and they wouldn’t take less”.  The fact remains that there was a willing seller and a willing buyer, and thus the sale is market value. Assessments are changed based on sale prices -ONLY DURING THE YEAR OF A TOWN-WIDE REASSESSMENT. Changes that occur between reassessments are usually for changes to the physicality of the property (additions-remodels-tear-downs-natural damage such as fires or floods etc.)

INFORMAL REVIEW PROCESS : The Assessor's Office encourages property owners to discuss their assessment on an informal basis. If you feel your assessment is incorrect then you must provide the Assessor with reasonable information based on market sales, that supports your opinion of market value. To make an appointment, please contact our office.

FORMAL REVIEW PROCESS :  The Board of Assessment Review meets the fourth Tuesday of May (Grievance Day) each year to hear grievances on assessments. Written application to the Board of Review must be made on or before Grievance Day on forms prescribed by the New York State Office of Real Property Services.

IMPORTANT DATES IN THE ASSESSMENT CYCLE
March 1st: Taxable Status Date (the deadline for all exemption applications and the completion date for building permits)
May 1st: Tentative Assessment Roll is filed.

4th Tuesday in May: Grievance Day
July 1st: Final Assessment Roll is filed
October 1st – March 1st: exemption application period

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE STAR EXEMPTION:
STAR is a statewide exemption that provides owner occupiers relief from school taxes, regardless of age. If you have never applied before,  you must register with the New York State Tax Department by visiting www.tax.ny.gov, or calling 518-457-2036.There are two types of STAR:

Enhanced STAR is for those residents over 65 as of 12/2016.
Basic STAR is for all property owner occupiers with an annual household income of $500,000 or less. No annual renewal is required for Basic STAR.

THE GOAL OF THE ASSESSOR’S OFFICE IS TO DETERMINE THE FAIR AND EQUITABLE ASSESSMENT FOR YOUR PROPERTY.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free contact the Town of Porter Assessor's Office at 716-745-3730 x118. We may be reached via email at porterassessor@roadrunner.com.