In his campaign, Commissioner Moran trumpeted his claim that he would not do reassessments. Here are just two of his campaign mailings, but the promise is on every one of his mailers.
It now appears clear that Commissioner Moran is going to carry out major reassessments of properties throughout the city.
According to the February 15, 2022 edition of the Foothills Business Daily,
Hundreds, maybe up to 1,000, residences are undervalued on the tax rolls in Saratoga Springs, and the city has contracted with a company to help find and rectify the discrepancies, says Commissioner of Accounts Dillon Moran.FBD
“Rectify The Discrepancies”: When is Reassessing not Reassessing?
So apparently there are a large but unknown number of structures that have either been built or have had major work done on them such as new additions or other improvements, whose assessed value has not been updated in the city’s tax roles.
At their last meeting (2/15/22) the Council approved a contract with GAR Associates to go through the city’s records regarding, I assume, building permits to determine which properties need to be reassessed.
Moran says the trouble has arisen over years as the Accounts Department has only one full-time assessor and one clerk. As such, some residential properties have been developed on what was undeveloped land, or the homes have received major upgrades, but the assessments [my emphasis] have not been adjusted to reflect the increase in value.FBD
Now I am not opposed to making sure that properties are properly assessed in order for our real property taxes to be fair, but Moran promised “No re-assessment”.
The Ethics Of Promises
Commissioner Moran has a history of reckless campaigning with a disregard for the facts. Readers may remember that he forged a NY State Health Department document in a previous campaign to try to smear his opponent.
I will be generous and assume ignorance rather than malice in this case of his promise not to do reassessments. In his desire to use this as a hot button campaign issue he simply saw no need to actually research whether the city in fact needed to carry out extensive reassessments.
Moran, asked by FBD to explain the discrepancy between his campaign promise not to do reassessments and his current plan told FBD:
“I’m comfortable making the fairness argument,” he said, adding, “Everybody has the ability to grieve” their new tax bills if their home value changes. Also, the changes only apply moving forward. The city cannot ask for taxes that should have been levied in the past.FBD
Maybe he should have considered the “fairness argument” before making “NO ASSESSMENT” the center of his campaign.