Niagara Falls ‘relaunch’ veto on council agenda | Local News
Niagara Falls City Council is expected to take action tonight to override Mayor Robert Restaino’s veto of a resolution that calls on the city to request proposals (RFPs) to conduct a citywide reassessment.
Members voted 4 to 1 on January 19 on a resolution sponsored by Board Chairman John Spanbauer and Member Kenny Tompkins to issue a Request for Proposals “to conduct a general reassessment of the total value of real estate parcels in the city. “
On January 26, Restaino vetoed the resolution, questioning the timing of the proposed reassessment.
“While reassessments may be necessary to bring property values in line with current market forces, residents and businesses in this city continue to struggle with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Restaino wrote in a statement. veto message to council. “I feel that now is not the time to impose this additional uncertainty on our community.”
The council will need four votes to override the mayor’s veto. In the 4-1 vote to pass the resolution, only newly elected Council member David Zajac opposed the action. Zajac said that despite consulting on the matter with fellow board members, he “needed more information” about the effects of the reassessment before he could support the effort.
The resolution called for the cost of a reassessment, estimated at $750,000, to be paid using funds available in the city’s U.S. bailout allocation.
Spanbuaer said the city has long awaited a full reassessment and said the reason previous councils failed to act was because members of those bodies “lacked courage.”
“It’s a very difficult decision,” Spanbauer said. “The only reason we haven’t had a reassessment is because the people at this table haven’t had the guts. It’s frustrating that we haven’t had the political will to do it. . Want to be re-elected? Vote against (re-evaluation).”
In mid-December, before newly elected council members Donta Myles, Traci Bax and Zajac were sworn in, a tightly divided council voted to approve the citywide reassessment. Spanbauer said he consulted with pending members at the time and a majority expressed support for the reevaluation.
While generally supporting the reassessment, Myles said he wasn’t sure it should happen immediately. The council member said he believed house prices in the city had recently inflated and the revaluation should be held until “after values begin to stabilize”.
Tompkins replied that inflation is taken into account in the work of the evaluators in charge of the re-evaluation and that the project would probably take three years.
The city’s last reassessment was in 2006. In 2019, the equalization for city taxable properties, which should be as close to 100% as possible, was 67%.
“Some residents pay more than they should, while others pay less than they should,” Spanbauer said. “A reassessment will create fairness among ratepayers. DeVeaux, LaSalle and Cayuga Island (residents) will pay their fair share and downtown residents, who are paying too much, will benefit. »
Proponents of a reassessment have also argued that if the city wants to eliminate its current two-tier property tax system (property, non-property), a key goal of the local business community, then a full property reassessment city-wide must take place. to allow the City to determine the true market value of its properties.
“We have to have the courage to do it,” Spanbauer said.