Wow! 2020 was a year that challenged us all to think in new ways and find solutions to protect our Town, our residents, and our employees. It became clear in March 2020 that we needed to take action to reduce damage from the Coivid-19 pandemic.
First, we addressed the financial impact caused by reduced revenues from lower sales tax revenues to reduced recreation fees. I met with our Town employees to develop a plan to move forward under these difficult challenges. Your dedicated Town employees worked hard to find costs to cut and protect revenues at every junction. We deferred roadwork, canceled new equipment purchases, and cut spending in all areas. They all did a great job and worked together to meet these challenges. I am very thankful that they all stepped up to best serve our community. Working together we even lowered the 2021 Town Tax Rate.
Our Town hall continues to operate with the safety of our employees and visitors being top of mind. While you may still walk in to complete a transaction, by making an appointment first, your wait time will be reduced. Please call the department first to receive the fastest service during your visit.
One of my goals has been to stabilize our Town budget. While I always take a conservative approach to budgeting, we have modernized the process to provide better planning for needed expenditures. When I came into office, our highway department was in need of new equipment as some of their machinery was no longer functional. This created a challenge as prior administrations had not financially planned for the replacement of this no longer serviceable equipment, some even from the 1960’s. Working with Highway Superintendent Tim Vendel, we projected the needs for replacement equipment for the next 5-years. We then set-up an equipment fund with yearly contributions to prevent those sudden large expenditures by spreading the investment over a multi-year time frame. This has helped stabilize our budget. We are now using this same approach in other departments. Great planning like this keeps us from unexpected bumps with our tax rates.
Our recreation department has worked hard on the Spring and Summer offerings. All programs will be run with safety in mind. Please see what interests you in this publication.
Please watch for our new Town website launching soon. It will be far more user friendly with better organized content. Please check it often to see what is going on in your Town! Transparency is redundant at all levels in our Town operations.
We are planning a Town-wide clean-up this year. Please watch our website for days and times. It has been many years since we have offered this most requested service.
I am sure by now you have received your revaluation letter from our town assessor, as I did. The state does not require us to do a reassessment every four years, but we are required by law to be fair at a uniform percentage of value. This is a process that our assessor is responsible for and has assured me she will work with every resident assisting them as needed.
Reassessments ensure you pay only your fair share of taxes. After several years without a reassessment some properties could be over-assessed, while others could be under-assessed. This is because some will have increased in value, while others may have
decreased in value or stayed the same.
Reassessment does not mean your taxes will automatically increase. Over time market value of properties change and reassessment is based on current market values rather than older values. The assessor is not responsible for taxes. The property tax levy is
determined by the taxing authority (school, town, county, etc.) separately from assessments. If assessments increase, tax rates go down proportionally. Why? Because the tax levy is now being distributed over a broader tax base.
If you feel your assessment is higher than the value of your property, please call our assessment office at (315) 986-1400 (Ext. 5) or email email@example.com and they will assist you. You can also set up an informal meeting to discuss your property and share information the assessor may not be aware of regarding your property. There is also a more formal process and you may learn more on our website or ask us how that works.
It is my honor to serve as your Town Supervisor and I always work hard so that every voice is heard! While Covid has meant less in-person contact, I am always here to help. Please feel free to contact me at (585) 230-2649 or (315) 986-1400 (Ext 1).
Susie C. Jacobs MMC, CTO
New York State Certified Town Official
Walworth Town Supervisor