Keene residents not happy with assessments

— Three residents voiced concerns regarding their property assessments at the Keene town board meeting July 10.

After speaking candidly to the board about the issue, Mitzi Piller said her home was assessed last April and the results were surprising.

The documentation showed that the property had previously been assessed in 2002 and also listed the names of the previous owners.

The problem is, Piller and her husband built the house five years ago when they relocated from Old Forge, and they are the only people to have ever lived there.

“The important thing is that the paperwork that was used for the assessment was wrong,” Piller said. “There’s someone’s name on there I don’t even recognize.”

Piller said she contacted Donna Bramer, the sole assessor for Keene, Jay, Lewis and St. Armand, and made plans to meet at Piller’s home to discuss the assessment, but Bramer never showed.

“I figured what I really wanted corrected was the data,” Piller said. “It’s not the amount (of the assessment), it’s the lack of professionalism with the people.”

Peter Fish has lived in the area since 1975, and said the value of the 1951 farmhouse he lives in has increased before, but not by a lot.

When this year’s assessment reflected a $10,000 increase, his wife went to the county office in Elizabethtown and returned with a stack of documents.

“My wife came back with endless sheets of information on other properties, all comparable to ours,” Fish said.

According to Fish, the documentation shows stark differences between property values, some of which are next door to one another.

At the meeting, he thanked the town board for taking people’s concerns in this matter to heart, but added that there is still work to be done to make the assessments equitable to all.

He also agreed with Piller, who said there are a lot of people in town who have been dealing with this.

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