City of Oswego property owners express frustration over recent tax reassessment

If Oswego City moves forward with increases, the council must finalize new assessments by July 1. Photo by: Jolie Santiago

OSWEGO, N.Y.– Residents of Oswego are feeling a mix of confusion, frustration, and aggravation following the city’s most recent property tax reassessment.

With the first reassessment in 27 years, some property owners find themselves facing significant increases in their tax burden, leaving them questioning the fairness of the process.

Long queues of concerned property owners have been forming at City Hall, all eager to speak with Kevin Hill, the city assessor, regarding their reassessments. 

“This is the first big increase in my taxes since I’ve been a homeowner,” Michael Virgo, a homeowner, said.

According to the city assessor, property tax reassessments have surged by an average of 58% citywide, with some cases witnessing their assessments doubling or even tripling. 

“Or somebody who sees syringes arriving in your town park and your house can not sell for the price that they are estimating that,” homeowner George Valentine said.

In response to the outcry, the city held a public forum on revaluation on March 20, aiming to address concerns and explain the rationale behind the reassessment. 

“A landlord that complained to me, you know, he was assessed for 2 million, now he’s assessed for four. I was like, ‘Congratulations, you doubled your net worth,’” home and business owner Jason Shi said.

While some, like Shi, view the reassessment as a positive boost to property value, others worry about the impact on vulnerable groups such as senior citizens, single mothers and college students.

Despite repeated attempts to reach out to city officials, including the city assessor and mayor, for comments, Oswego Now has yet to receive a response. 

Nevertheless, residents have until Grievance Day to contest their assessments, with the final deadline set for May 1. They are reminded that challenges can only be made to the assessed value of their properties.

For those seeking to contest their assessments, more information is available on the New York State Tax and Finance website.