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Dyster, Touma Continue To Deceive Taxpayers On Reassessments & Ignore The Will Of The People

By the Committee to Stop the Reassessments & Continuous Tax Increases

Some of the elected denizens who work inside this building continue to push for a tax reassessment. With any luck the voters will evict them.

As mentioned in a previous article, Mayor Paul Dyster, with the support of Council Chairman Andrew Touma, deceived the taxpayers by waiting five days after the mayoral election to tell us he was planning to do a citywide reassessment.

We were told this will raise assessments from between 17 and 40 percent!

An attempt to deceive us by trying to convince us that this is not a tax increase is so great that even Chairman Touma cannot keep his own versions straight and keeps contradicting himself.

Version #1 In a Niagara Gazette article dated November 8, 2015, Touma said a citywide reassessment is a source of further revenue. He said the city’s residential parcels are currently assessed at 83 percent of their current value, while some commercial properties clock in at roughly 60 percent. He said he would like to see assessment values brought to 100 percent citywide, and to do so would raise property taxes in the city of Niagara Falls. “We are not where we need to be.” He said. “That’s revenue the city is losing out on.” Mayor Dyster, in that same article
you claim it has not been done in some time, you claim it needs to be done.

Version #2 In a Niagara Gazette Guest View dated June 22, 2016, Touma said that reassessments do not raise more tax dollars; what they do is redistribute tax burden.

Version #3 In a Niagara Falls Reporter article dated July 21, 2016, Touma stressed that it is unlikely that property owners will see major up-or-down changes in their assessments, with the possibility of a 10 to 15 percent increase very rare.

Which version is the truth? We believe it is version #1, uttered before the protesting started.

Council Chairman Andrew Touma, who will face reelection next year if he chooses to run, has led the charge to reassess every property in Niagara Falls.

As Touma said, “A lot of people believe it is a good thing to determine fair market value, starting with the city’s Financial Advisory Panel”.

The truth is, on November 29, 2015, the Advisory Panel recommended a citywide reassessment to raise revenue and they estimate the increase in assessments would add up to $112 million. The panel’s chairman told the city that if it does not control its profligate spending…the money from casino… would be diverted to the general fund. Another member suggested increasing taxes for homeowners and businesses.

Do you still think we are fooled by the nonsense you are feeding us about fair market value, etc., etc., etc.? We are not!

We know that a reassessment is the only way that they can get more money out of us as the city is nearing the maximum taxable limit allowed by New York State. If they reassess, they lift that bar too. We know that a reassessment will raise our county and school taxes as well.

Our elected officials cannot have it both ways, the highest taxed city in the United States and 100 percent assessments!

The Niagara Gazette had the audacity to tell home and business owners that we need to respect and participate in whatever reassessment process may eventually unfold in an editorial published on June 26, 2016. We are sick of participating! The Niagara Gazette has no right to tell the residents and business owners in the highest taxed city in the United States that we should respect and participate in, yet again, another huge tax increase.

The chorus of voices calling for Mayor Dyster and Chairman Touma to resign in light of this deceit and breach of the public trust continues to get louder.

Stop the proposed reassessment and start putting OUR casino money into the general fund so it benefits the people to whom the money belongs.

We will continue to put up signs, pass petitions and protest until our elected officials heed the voice of the people who pay their salaries and stop the proposed “reassessment” on the highest taxed residents and business owners in the United States.

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