The Town of Chester is conducting a Town-wide reassessment of each and every parcel within the Town borders for the year 2024.  This notice was created in order to answer the most common questions associated with this project.

Q.  Why do we need to update assessments?

A.  The real property tax collected by local taxing authorities is distributed on an “ad valorem” basis.  This simply means that each property owner pays their fair share of the property tax burden in proportion to the value of the real property they own. To ensure fairness, property values must be reviewed on a regular basis.

Q.  Didn’t we do this a short time ago?

A. The last Town-wide assessment update was completed in 2008…15 years ago. New construction, subdivisions and economic changes were incorporated on each of the subsequent year’s assessment rolls, based on the standards established in 2008.  Changes in the economy require that we analyze all properties using current acceptable statistical applications to ensure all properties remain equitable.

Q. Who will be working on this project?

A. The Town of Chester will be conducting this update with the assistance of Maxwell Appraisal Service, a professional valuation firm familiar with the area.  Staff members of Maxwell Appraisal Service, aided by the Town Assessor’s office, will be completing the tasks necessary for this update.

Q.  Does this mean that each property will be inspected?

A.  All properties will be visited, and new photos will be taken.  We would like to get an exterior photo of both the front and back of the structures.  Photo visits should only take a few minutes and you do not need to be present / home when they are being taken.  We are asking for and appreciate your cooperation during this process.  We do our absolute best to respect everyone’s privacy and property. Feel free to ask for identification for anyone claiming to be from the Assessor’s office or Maxwell Appraisal Service.

Q.  Will I be notified in advance when my property will be visited?

A.  Unfortunately, we are not able to inform property owners in advance when their parcel will be visited.  Weather, personnel schedules, and other variables make it impossible to predict specific dates and times when a parcel will be visited.

Q.  When will this be done?

A.  This process will be taking place throughout 2023.  We intend to complete the on-site visits by the end of 2023.  Reviews of parcels will run through the late fall and early winter months before setting the new assessments.

Q. Will I receive any documents / documentation?

A. In early March 2024, each property owner will receive a “disclosure notice” with the preliminary assessment and a relative tax estimate.  This estimate assumes all exemptions in effect for the 2023 assessment roll will remain valid and budgets for fiscal year 2023 / 2024 are identical.

Q.  Will my taxes go up?

A.  Assessments are not the only factor in calculating a tax bill. Unfortunately, this office has no way of foreseeing any budget increases or changes after the revaluation project is completed.  Some assessments will go up, some assessments will go down and some assessments will remain around the same.  If your assessment goes up, that does not necessarily mean that your taxes will increase.  Your preliminary assessment notice will give you an approximation of your projected taxes based on the new assessment utilizing the most recent tax rates.

Q.  How will I know if the new assessment is correct?

A.  The assessment will reflect 100% of market value based on sales as of July 1, 2023.  The assessment of your property should be approximately the amount you would expect to sell it for on the open market, under normal circumstances, between an informed, willing buyer and seller, acting in their own best interest, where it is assumed that there are no unusual conditions or circumstances attached to the sale.

Q.  What if I disagree and believe my new assessment may be incorrect?  What can I do?

A.  Informal hearings will be held at stated times by appointment during March 2024.  During this time, you will have the opportunity to review the information utilized in preparing your assessment with Maxwell Appraisal Service.

Q.  How are assessments determined?

A.  One or more of the following standard methods of value are used to determine assessments:

We do not look at your neighbors’ assessment to produce your assessment. Each property is individually analyzed, and their assessment is independently generated.  We do not use or consider real estate listings or other assessments.  Your assessment is based on the properties that have sold recently in the Town of Chester or by one of the methods shown above.

We hope this helps you to understand the 2024 revaluation process and that we have answered your questions. If you need further information or have additional questions, feel free to contact the Assessor’s office during business hours at (518) 494-3515.
Mailing address:

Town of Chester
Office of the Assessor
6307 State Route 9
PO Box 423
Chestertown, New York  12817