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Cicero tax grievance day

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Cicero tax grievance day
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Cicero residents battle to get their taxes lowered. Tuesday was tax grievance day in the Town of Cicero. As our Katie Gibas reports, even though it's been more than a year since the town-wide reassessment, many residents are still fighting their property valuations.

CICERO, N.Y. -- James Vavra bought his home in Cicero last year. It cost him $70,000. But the assessment more than doubled after a town-wide reassessment last year.

"How could they do that? I mean, the exact same house next to you when you're paying triple for taxes, there's just not logic to it at all. I just want my taxes dropped back to what it was," said Vavra.

Vavra was one of many people at the Cicero Tax Grievance Day Tuesday.

"If I don't do something about it, then next year, the taxes will go up and the next year the taxes," said Vavra.

Frank Verni, a Brewerton resident, added, "They raised the value of my house about $60,000 and my taxes almost doubled. It's tough because I live on social security and a pension, so my income is fixed. It's not in my budget to double my taxes."

The Assessment Review Board broke into two separate groups, so they could hear twice as many cases. All in all, they heard more than 60 grievances. Now they will have the next 30 days to review those cases and to make a decision as to whether or not those assessments will be reduced.

"We've seen a flat market in Cicero for the past three years. In other words, no real plusses, no real minuses. The fact that some people saw a large increase was only because they were so below market before then, so when I do my review this year, as I have been, I'm looking at the current sales, and they are in most cases supporting the assessment, and if they don't, obviously, I will make a change," said Brad Brennan, the Cicero Town Assessor.

Vavra's reassessment was knocked down to $98,000 earlier this year. That's still $30,000 more than his almost identical next door neighbors' homes. He and many others at grievance day will now wait anxiously to learn their tax fate.

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