‘I almost fell out of the chair’: Oswego residents fire back over property evaluations

OSWEGO, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Oswego homeowners had tonight’s Common Council meeting circled on their calendars for the last week.

Neighbors have been receiving astronomical property assessment value increases in the mail.

“My house assessment went from $175,000 to $328,000. A $153,000 tax assessment increase in one year,” said one Oswego resident.

The room was filled with people like this.

Lee Walker bought this fixer-upper assessed this year at $85,000.

“I almost fell out of the chair because I paid 10 thousand for it and before that, it was worth $35,904 for full assessed value,” Mr. Walker said.

The city of Oswego hired GAR associates out of Buffalo to conduct city-wide assessments, which haven’t been done since 1997.

Property owners have a bigger problem with the idea that an out-of-town company is assessing without real knowledge of the city.

“It could be a bad thing if everybody’s taxes are going to be increased to the point where some people can’t afford to stay in their homes possibly,” said Oswego resident Joseph Mezza. “People on a fixed income, people on social security.

One of the port city’s former mayors offered up a solution to the common council.

“I challenge this council, when I spoke to my son, to rescind all resolutions relevant to this reveal. Get rid of it and I think everyone in the room would agree,” said former mayor John Gosek.

If they plan to move forward with the increases, the council must finalize the new assessments by July 1.

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