3600 Lorraine Drive • Walworth, NY 14568
Telephone: (315) 986-1400
Town Hall: 3600 Lorraine Dr. Walworth, NY 14568
 (315) 986-1400

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve compiled many of our most frequently asked questions into this repository. Should you have any further questions, you may contact the specific department using our Contact Directory.

Assessment Office

Who is legally allowed to value a property?

The assessor is the only person who is certified to value properties and is the only person responsible for doing this. No one else in the office carries out this duty.

The assistant (or another employee) can discuss your questions, share your comparables, and provide the values and stipulations as dictated by the assessor, but these employees are not involved in the valuation process and have nothing to do with deciding your assessment.

Information as to how valuation is completed can be found on the previous FAQ on the town website, at tax.ny.gov, or by calling the assessment department.

Can the date of Grievance Day be changed?

Real Property Tax Law dictates that Grievance Day is the fourth Tuesday in May, with few exceptions, including if a municipality shares an assessor. If an assessor is shared, Grievance Day must be adopted between the fourth Tuesday in May and the second Tuesday in June. Please refer to tax.ny.gov for more detailed information.

To change Grievance Day from the fourth Tuesday in May as a result of a shared assessor, a local law is adopted. The Town of Walworth adopted a local law stating that Grievance Day shall be the first Thursday after the fourth Tuesday in May. As a result, Grievance Day for 2021 must be held on Thursday, May 27th.

Grievance Day can and will be extended to ensure all residents who attend will be seen. All residents with appointments will be seen first; those who attend without an appointment will be asked to wait until the appointments during that time slot have been seen.

What if I do not agree with the amount the assessor offers me for stipulation?

If you do not agree to the amount offered for stipulation, sometimes this can be discussed further with the assessor.

If the supporting documentation you provide to the assessor (appraisal or market analysis) supports a value that is comparable to what the assessor offers for stipulation, and you still do not agree with the value, you may be asked to provide additional documentation to support your difference in opinion.

If you choose to not accept a stipulation after discussions with the assessor, and you choose to attend Grievance Day, please note that you will be discussing the preliminary assessed value, not the amount offered to you as a stipulation.

Who can hold informal meetings?

Anyone can hold an informal meeting, including any town hall employee, appointed, and elected officials of the town.

This is because no decisions are made at informal meetings. The meetings are a fact-finding session only; information is exchanged by the parties, and the assessor reviews all the information following the meeting.

Are informal meetings requirements by law?

No. Informal meetings are not required by law to be held. It is up to the assessor to determine if informal meetings will be held.

Where can information regarding assessors and certifications, process of valuing, and more be found?

Information regarding the above can be found through tax.ny.gov. There are numerous publications and websites outlining the process of certification to become an assessor, how a parcel is valued, procedures for contesting your assessment, understanding different terminology included in the assessment (cost, time adjusted sale price, equalization rates, etc.), and more.

Please note that it has come to our attention that a great deal of misinformation is being disseminated on Facebook. We would like to remind all residents that if you have questions on reassessments or the process itself, please call or email our office to receive answers to the questions you have, visit tax.ny.gov, or see the FAQ page on the Town of Walworth website.

Who ensures the Assessor's work is accurate?

Throughout the reassessment process, the Assessor works closely with New York State Real Property Tax staff. Typically, the same one or two people work with the Assessor throughout the process. All steps in the reassessment process are reviewed, and the state offers continuous guidance for the Assessor throughout the process as well.

Can assessments be waived?

To ensure a fair and uniform level of assessment, individual assessments cannot be waived by the assessor. However, your assessment can be discussed with the assessor, and you have the opportunity and right to grieve your assessment each year.

Can Grievance Day be postponed?

Grievance Day is typically the fourth Tuesday in May per Real Property Tax Law. When a town is not able to hold Grievance Day on that day, a local law is set to determine the new date.

For the Town of Walworth, Grievance Day is the first Thursday after the fourth Tuesday in May. This year, Grievance Day is being held on May 27th.

What is the Board of Assessment Review?

The Board of Assessment Review consists of three to five members appointed by the town board. The BAR cannot include the assessor or any staff from the assessor’s office. Assessors are required to attend all formal hearings of the board and have the right to be heard on any complaint.

You have the right to attend the hearing of the BAR and to present statements and/or documentation in support of your grievance. You may appear personally and with or without an attorney/other representatives.

If you choose to be represented by an attorney or other representative, you must authorize that person to appear on your behalf.

What is the Formal Review Process?

There are two levels of formal review:

  1.   Administrative Review – the “grievance” process at the municipal level\
  2.   Judicial Review – includes Small Claims Assessment Review (SCAR) or Tax Certiorari proceedings via the State Supreme Court (which typically require an attorney).

Administrative Review must occur first to pursue Judicial Review.

The Board of Assessment Review will meet on May 27th (Grievance Day) to hear grievances regarding 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.

Appointments can be set for Grievance Day through the Assessment Department. Packets of information, including the necessary forms for Grievance Day (RP-524, also available online via tax.ny.gov) are available through the department as well.

If you choose to attend Grievance Day without an appointment, please note that appointments will be seen first, and all others will be seen in the order in which they have appeared/signed in.

What is the Informal Review Process?

During the Informal Review Process, the Assessing staff meet with property owners to discuss assessments and concerns.

Your assessment is the Assessor’s opinion of value, supported by documentation and research. If you feel your assessment is incorrect, the Assessor will ask that you provide the office with reasonable information, based on market sales, that supports your opinion of value.

To make an appointment, please contact the Assessment Department directly.

What is the process?

The process follows closely to the assessment process the Assessor uses, but also includes the steps outlined above when the reassessment began. After records are updated, sales are confirmed, and inventory is revised, the Assessor can begin valuing different types of properties. All parcels in a municipality, no matter the property type (residential, vacant land, farm, industrial, commercial) are reassessed and reviewed during a town-wide reassessment.

When did the reassessment start?

The reassessment process began in March of 2020. All property owners were mailed Property Description Reports and asked to return these to the town; in this notice, residents were told about the reassessment and asked to ensure that their parcel descriptions, building inventory, and improvements listed (such as garages, barns, etc.) were accurate so records could be updated accordingly.

The process formally began in July of 2020. Numbers and trends were identified and updated in our system, inventory was revised per the data mailers received from residents, and sales were reviewed for accuracy and to see if they were useable or non-useable. A useable sale is an arms’ length transaction without any conditions affecting it. A non-useable sale may be a sale between family members, quit-claim deeds to adjust owners and names, sales that include closing costs or multiple parcels under one price, etc.

What are the ramifications of NOT doing an assessment?

When assessments are not up to date, it typically means not all properties are assessed accurately. Some are over-assessed and some under-assessed.

Tax rates are also typically higher when a town or municipality does not perform reassessments; assessing at a lower percentage of the market value means tax rates are usually higher to make up for the inaccuracies.

How did the Assessor come up with the numbers?

 The first step in assessing is to determine a property’s market value. To estimate market value, the Assessor can use three different approaches:

  • Market Approach - comparing property to similar properties that have recently sold.
    This is typically used for residential, vacant land, and farm properties.
  • Cost Approach – calculating cost to replace a structure with a similar one using today’s labor/material prices; depreciation is subtracted, and market value of the land is added.
    This is typically used to value industrial, special purpose, and utility properties.
  • Income Approach – analyzing how much income a property (such as an apartment building) will product if rented, into account expenses, insurance, maintenance costs, financing terms, etc.

Assessors may also use mass appraisal techniques to analyze property sales and estimate values.

Once the market value is estimated, the assessment is calculated. When a town is assessing at 100% of market value, the market value = the assessment.

If the town is at a fraction of market value, the assessment is calculated by multiplying the market value by the level of assessment for the town. For example, Walworth was previously at 86%; 0.86 would previously have been the multiplier.

Why is the town doing a reassessment to 100% this year?

Keeping assessments up to date each year is necessary for fair tax distribution. That is why reassessments are done.

When the town is assessed at 100%, assessments have been reviewed and adjusted to be fair and accurate. It also means that the overall tax base has increased. When this happens, tax rates typically decrease. A lower percentage of value for a taxing jurisdiction equals a higher tax rate to compensate for the underassessment. Alternatively, when 100% of value is achieved, a lower tax rate occurs because the assessments are fair and accurate.

The uniform percentage of value is currently (prior to the 2021 assessment roll) at 86%. This means the town has a higher tax rate because some properties are over-assessed while others are under-assessed.

Furthermore, when a town assesses at 100% every four years, they are eligible to receive aid from the state for completing the reassessment. This contributes to the overall income of the town.

Are assessments required?

Unlike most states, New York State does not require municipalities to conduct reassessments.

However, the law does require that assessments be fair at a uniform percentage of value.

Reassessments that meet state standards are eligible for aid for cyclical reassessments. The aid program requires that reappraisals be conducted at 100% of market value at least once every four years.

What do Town Assessors do?

The assessor is the official who estimates the value of real property within the municipalities’ 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, and value estimate of every piece of real estate in the municipality is kept up to date. The information contained on this site is taken from the Final Assessment Roll, filed on July 1st of every year. The assessment roll may be reviewed on-line, or at Town Hall, by appointment before the filing of the tentative assessment roll (May 1st each year). Following this the filing of the tentative assessment roll, the only changes that can be made to the tentative assessment roll 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. Complaints 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 jurisdiction, such as the town, school board or county legislature, who set the tax rates. The assessor does not set tax rates.

How does reassessment affect property taxes?

Assessors do not set budgets or tax rates; they only determine the assessed value of your property.

Reassessments do not mean taxes will automatically increase; they may increase, decrease, or stay the same. Each taxing jurisdiction (school districts, towns, counties) determine the amount of taxes that need to be collected from property owners (the tax levy). This is determined based on each jurisdiction’s proposed budgets.

When assessments increase, tax rates are expected to go down proportionally. This is because the levy is being distributed over a broader tax rate.

Why do reassessments need to be done?

After several years without a reassessment, some properties will be over-assessed, and some will be under-assessed. This is because some properties will have increased in value, while others may have decreased or stayed the same. Without a reassessment, all the properties will continue to pay the same amount of taxes.

Depending on how long it has been since the last reassessment, the assessor may send information requests to property owners and/or do physical appraisals of property. This helps the assessor update inventory information for each property and update records as needed.

What is reassessment?

A municipal-wide reassessment ensures that each property assessment is fair and accurate.

During a reassessment, the assessor will review the market values of all the properties in the community.  Based on changes in the real estate market, the assessor will determine which assessments need to be increased or decreased.

Building & Code

I am selling my home and need past history permits. How do I obtain these?

Send a request for that information to the Building Department. We will research your home to see what permits have been issued. There is a $35.00 research fee for this process. If an inspection is required an additional $35.00 will apply.

A permit is good for how long?

The permit is good for one year, and may be renewed.

What types of inspections are required?

This depends on the type of permit. There are many different inspections. You will be advised upon permit request.

How do I find out what my property is zoned?

The Zoning Map is available on the Building & Code page of our website for reference.

When do I need a building permit?

Call the Building Department office at 315.986.1400 Option 4 to see if a building permit is required before starting any project.

Where do I get a building permit?

From the Building Department at the Walworth Town Hall, 3600 Lorraine Drive.

Clerk's Office

Can I renew my registration and driver’s license in Lyons?

Yes, or by mail to the below address, which is faster than sending it to Albany. The address is:

Dept. of Motor Vehicles
P O Box 608
Lyons, NY 14489

Envelopes are available at Town Clerk’s Office

Do I have to go to Lyons to get vehicle registration forms?

No. There are a variety of motor vehicle forms at the Town Clerk’s Office

I think I have a rabid animal in my yard! What should I do?

Contact the Wayne County Public Health Department

At what age does my child need a fishing license?

Age 16. NYS Hunting & Trapping and NYS Freshwater Fishing books are available in the Town Clerk’s Office free of charge.

How do I get a handicapped parking permit for a family member?

Applications are available at the Town Clerk’s Office or your Doctor’s office. Completed applications should be submitted to the Town Clerk’s office of the town in which the applicant resides, where the permit will be issued. Driver’s license required (if applicable).

How long is it valid?
A Permanent Permit is valid up to 5 years. A Temporary Permit is valid for up to 6 months.

Where can I get a copy of my birth certificate?

If you were born at home: You must get it from the registrar of the Town in which you were born. If you were born in a hospital: You must get it from the registrar of the County in which you were born.

Does it need a raised seal? Yes

How much does a copy cost? Filed in Walworth – $10.00. Other – ?

What do we need to get a marriage license?

One age related identification (birth certificate with raised seal, baptismal record, naturalization record), one photo identification (driver’s license, passport, employee identification), and divorce papers (if applicable)

Do we both have to come to the Town Clerk’s Office?
Yes, both parties need to be present..

When should we get the license?
It must be purchased at least 24 hours prior to the ceremony and is valid for 60 days.

How much does it cost? $40.00

My neighbor’s dog barks all the time. Is there someone I can call?

Yes.  Contact our Dog Control Officer, Lea Dill at (315) 576-5597

When should I renew the license?

Yearly – the form will be sent to you by the Town Clerk’s office. It is renewable at the Town Clerk’s Office or by mail.

Can I license my dog by mail?

Yes. Be sure to include the appropriate paperwork and a check made out to “Walworth Town Clerk.”

What do I need to license my dog?

Bring current Rabies Certificate and Spay/neuter certificate to Town Clerk’s Office.

How much does a license cost?

Spayed/Neutered: $10.00    Not spayed/neutered: $19.00

At what age should I license my dog?

You must be 18 or older to have a dog licensed in your name. By state law, all dogs 4 months or older must be licensed.

Highway Department

I have a drainage problem; can you help me?

We maintain drainage on town owned public roads, on town owned property, and within areas where we have an easement, and we will provide maintenance in these areas.  However, legally, we cannot and will not provide drainage maintenance on private property.

Does the town offer hazardous waste pickup or drop off?

The Highway Dept does not pick up any of these items.  PLEASE do not place these items on the roadside.  Please call Wayne County Public Safety at 315-946-5663 more information regarding hazardous waste disposal.

Do you provide tree removal, or tree/shrubbery trimming?

We will take down a tree, or trim overgrown limbs or shrubbery ONLY if they are causing a public safety hazard and only those that are in the road right-of-way.

Do you maintain traffic signals?

We do maintain 2 traffic lights, with one being at the 4 corners in town, and the other at the intersection of Plank/Lincoln Road.  The traffic light at the intersection of 441/350 is maintained by the State.

What do I do if I notice a streetlight is out?

Please call us at 315-524-3150 and we will contact either NYSEG or RGE and let them know we need it repaired.  For those streetlights that belong to the town, we will come out and fix it ourselves.

Does the town have a location where Walworth residents can drop off brush or leaves, and does the town have mulch for the residents?

Unfortunately, we do not have the room at our facility that will allow for brush/leaf drop off, nor does the town have the manpower or equipment to provide brush/leaf pickup.  We suggest you contact Alpco Recycling at 315-986-8900 and speak with them about their policy for dropping off brush or leaves.  The same is true for mulch.  Unfortunately, the town has neither the capacity nor the equipment that would allow for us to provide mulch to our residents.    

Do you pick up dead animals?

Yes, but deer only.  Please call us at 315-524-3150 and let us know where the deer is located, and we will come pick it up.  If the animal is on a County or State road, you will need to call and inform them.

Which roads are under the jurisdiction of the Town of Walworth Highway Department?

You can find a list of streets/roads that are under our jurisdiction on our town website.  Please remember, that while we are under contract to plow certain sections of some County and State roads, all other maintenance on those roads is done by either the County or the State, depending under whose jurisdiction they fall.  The only exception to this is if we plow a County or State road and hit your mailbox.  We will then fix the mailbox since we were the ones that damaged it.  If you live on a County or State Road, and have questions or concerns unrelated to snowplowing, the phone number for Wayne County Highway Department is 315-946-5600, and the number for the State Highway is 315-332-4000.

If my mailbox is damaged by a town snowplow, how do I get it replaced?

As a courtesy, we will either replace your damaged mailbox with a GENERIC mailbox or try to repair your existing mailbox.  Call 315-524-3150 to let us know of any mailbox/post damage and we will take care of it as soon as time allows.

Why isn’t my street plowed yet?

The operators have routes that begin from the Highway Department to each existing neighborhood. Each route takes approximately 2 ½ hours.   Your street will be plowed according to where you are on the route, with main roads given the priority.

Where is the Highway Department located and how do we contact you with questions or concerns?

We are located at 4384 Canandaigua Road.  You can reach us by calling 315-524-3150.  Should you prefer, you can also reach us by email at:  highway@townofwalworthny.gov.

Parks & Recreation

Do you have a lodge or pavilion?

We have a lodge and a pavilion in Ginegaw Park. We also have a pavilion in Sherburne Road Park.  All three are available for rental. The lodge is $175.00 resident fee and $225.00 non-resident fee. Pavilions are $35.00 resident fee and $60.00 non-resident fee. Please call the Recreation Dept. for availability.

How do you pronounce “Ginegaw”, as in Ginegaw Park?

Ginegaw is pronounced gin’ee’gaw (and both g’s are hard “g” sounds)

Where is Dolomite Park?

Dolomite Park is located on the west side of Lewis Road, between Route 286 (Atlantic Avenue) and Plank Road

Where are the Town Hall fields?

The Town Hall fields are located at the bottom of the hill to the east of the Walworth Town Hall. They are accessed via Lorraine Drive.

Can I request a certain team for my child to be on when registering for a sport?

Yes, we will try our best to meet all requests but cannot guarantee them.

Can I register online for Walworth Rec Programs?

Yes, it is possible to register online for Walworth Recreation programs. Please be aware that a convenience fee is charged for all online registrations. Visit the Parks & Recreation page of this website for more information.

Sewer Department

How do I properly drain my pool?

Pool water should not be drained into the sanitary sewer nor should it be drained into the storm sewer in the road.  To effectively drain your pool, keep the hose on your property and let the water soak into the ground.

What causes blockages to occur?

Blockages can occur for two reasons. The first is the accumulation of material inside of the line.  Draining unsuitable substances through the sewer, such as kitchen fats and greases or sand, clay or mud, can cause a build up and blockage in otherwise properly constructed sewers. However, the proper operation of a sewer line requires that the line is constructed "on grade", that is with a consistent slope. High or low areas along a line will cause small amount of greases, soap scum and other material to accumulate, eventually causing a blockage. "Clean Outs" provide the homeowner or sewer drain contractor an access point for sewer line maintenance. The second cause of blockage is the presence of sand or roots entering the line through a break or other damage to the line. Tree roots will seek out sources of water, such as sewer lines, and will enter even the smallest cracks in the line. Roots will inevitably clog a sewer line. Larger cracks will not only allow roots to enter, but will cause sand and dirt to enter the line, blocking the flow. As dirt flows into the line, a small "sink-hole" or depression appears in the ground above the leak. These sink holes almost always indicate a problem with a sanitary line or a storm drain, and therefore should be investigated or reported.

What is the purpose of a roof vent?

All houses have plumbing vents that extend through the roof. These vents allow air to flow both in and out of the house plumbing system, helping water to flow through the pipes. Working in combination with the vapor traps, gases from the sewer system are vented safely through the roof.

What is the purpose of a vapor trap?

Every water fixture in your house has a vapor trap.  This "U" shaped pipe is clearly visible under sinks, and is present in some form on all lines draining to the sewage system. The "U" shape holds water, preventing gases from backing up from the sewer into the house through the sink drain.

What causes sewer odors in the house?

Sewage has a natural tendency to produce odors. All sewers have some odors. The plumbing system in  your home is designed to prevent these odors from entering the house. If you are experiencing odors indoors, it is likely that there is a problem with the vapor trap.

What should I do if my sewer is plugged?

The town is responsible for keeping the main sewer lines clear and running. If you have a slow acting drain, you will need to call a plumber. Most problems with sluggish drain areas are caused by problems with the homeowner's sewer line. Unless there is a reason to suspect otherwise, we recommend that you contact a plumber or drain cleaner to restore sluggish or blocked drains. Occasionally, a plumber will suggest that the blockage is in the Town maintained portion of the sewer line. In those cases, call us at 315.986.3415 and we will investigate. The Sewer Department is only responsible for the main sewer lines in the permanent town easements.  Please refer to Town Code Section 139-61.

Where is my sewer lateral?

The Sewer Department has a limited number of records showing where laterals are on private properties in the town. When purchasing a house with sewers please check with the town for availability of such records. Remember, it is the owners responsibility to maintain the clean-out and make sure it is accessible.

What should I do if I sold my house?

Contact the Wayne County Water and Sewer Authority at 315.986.1929. The Walworth Sewer District contracts with the water authority for the sewer billing. Therefore, they will do the final reading and send out the final bill.

What happens if I don't pay my sewer bill?

Any unpaid amount on your sewer account after the 4th quarter due date will be levied to your property taxes. If you still pay your sewer bill after the due date using a CREDIT CARD it will be applied to your first quarter bill for the coming year.  All other payments will be mailed back to the customer.

Where do I mail my sewer payment?

Payments should be mailed to the Town of Walworth Sewer District, 3600 Lorraine Drive, Walworth NY 14568.

Who should my payment be made payable to?

Please make your payment payable to the WALWORTH SEWER DISTRICT.

How do I pay my sewer bill using a credit card?

Go to the Town of Walworth Sewer Department web page. Click on the link to "pay by credit card" and follow the steps. Please note a small non-refundable service feel will apply.

How can I pay my sewer bill?

You have several options for paying your bill; Drop box located at the Walworth Town Hall upper lobby, Online bill check, Credit Card, Postal Service.

How is my bill determined?

Your sewer minimum quarterly amount is $81.00 and allows you 16,000 gallon of water usage.  Anything over 16,000 gallons is billed at an additional rate of $4.58 per thousand gallons. Keep in mind your sewer bill is based on water consumption.