Seneca Falls assessments down, Supervisor Lazzaro declines raise

The assessed value of properties in this Seneca County town, a key component of the formula used to determine property taxes, is down significantly for 2019.

The preliminary budget discussed at a workshop Monday afternoon shows the town’s taxable value at $415.1 million, compare to $439.7 million this year. Assessor Stephanie Holtz said court challenges of assessments that resulted in reductions in assessments was a main factor in the decline.

Holtz said:

• The Town Board settled a challenge with the owners of Eagle Auto Sales, reducing that assessment by $1 million.

• The Board of Assessment Review agreed to reduce many of the grievances argued before them this year, some involving house fires that reduced those property values.

• The number of exemptions rose.

• Seneca County’s purchase of the former BonaDent building took $2.3 million off the tax rolls. About 15 percent of that building is leased to del Lago Resort & Casino. Holtz said about 15 percent of the building is taxable.

• Other assessment reductions were for the Fuccillo Ford expansion, which qualified for a temporary business exemption, and the assessment on the former Sylvania Electric plant dropped from $4.9 million to $900,000.

The preliminary budget discussed Monday included pay raises for the supervisor and four board members. The four board members’ salaries will go from $8,465 to $9,000, while the supervisor’s salary was proposed to rise from $10,775 to $11,310.

Supervisor Greg Lazzaro, while thanking the board for the proposed increase, said he would decline the raise.

“My budget proposal calls for many cuts, so I don’t see how I can be taking a raise,” he said. “There’s a lot of uncertainty.”

Lazzaro noted the lawsuit filed by Seneca Meadows Inc. over a local law that would close the landfill by Dec. 31, 2025, is headed to court.

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