Commissioner Moran: Did I Promise That?

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.

7 thoughts on “Commissioner Moran: Did I Promise That?”

  1. How about you learn the difference between a city-wide REASSESSMENT vs individual PROPERTY ADJUSTMENTS (correcting past property improvements that were not accounted for)?

    You know, before you make yourself look this stupid?

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  2. At least do partial assessments. Buildings with multiple apartments are still being assessed at mid to early 2000’s values. As we all know the price of rent has probably at least doubled since then.

    On Fri, Feb 18, 2022, 11:28 AM Saratoga Springs Politics wrote:

    > John Kaufmann posted: ” 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 go” >

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  3. I’m no fan of Dillon and he’s definitely done some shady things in the past, but I don’t think it’s impossible to believe that he said no citywide reassessment but then saw what a mess Accounts was and realized something needed to be done. Even if it is 1000, isn’t that still just a fraction of the total houses? Tough to feel bad for people who have gotten the benefit of lower taxes for years.

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    1. Given that Dillon Moran was, for some bizarre reason, former Accounts Commissioner John Franck’s chosen successor, I find it difficult to believe that Moran wasn’t briefed about the looming catch up coming on these reassessments. So maybe he wasn’t listening when he was briefed on this or more likely, in my opinion given Dillon’s history, he just cynically went for the big “No Re-Assessments” headline regardless of what he knew he would be doing when he took office.

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  4. Of course, he must be aware that he is doing spot assessments which are illegal. I can understand improvements that were not reassessed after completion, but homes that were assessed after completion and the assessment is in the books I think he perhaps should come up with more than I think it should be higher (or even another companies opinion) and start reassessing, which would be considered spot assessment. This opens up a large can of worms, look at assessments on Broadway and commercial buildings which have a wide variation as well, so where does it end without a re-assessment?

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  5. Home prices are up 19% year over year. Wait till local governments raise taxes on that increase in ‘fair market value’. The currency is in an exponential inflationary period with no real end in sight. Bill Gates spoke at the Munich Security Conference with very high confidence of another pandemic soon. Jobs were traditionally the way people garnered ‘credits’, ‘dollars’, or ‘money’ to buy things. Agriculture represents 1% of the workforce, Industry perhaps 3-5%, Defense 5-10%. The rest are service jobs that create an excuse to move money around without a lot of ‘productivity’.

    I would urge people to keep a close eye on local government spending and make sure there is no looting of the local treasuries. Do these people have second homes? Where are they putting their money?

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  6. I think that some should review the changes in assessments over the last half dozen years. Most of the grieved assessment were approved, and those with appraisals were almost 100% approved. What was once a 3-day April grievance has been shortened to 1 day in part because of streamlining and educational programs for the public. The inflated values from a decade ago have fallen. Today’s housing market shortage will be short lived. The city always had an Assessor (The Commissioner) and an Assistant Assessor.

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