Following a story that ran in the March 28 issue of Spotlight News regarding an initiative, approved by the Town Board on March 22, to re-collect data on all residential properties in Bethlehem with the goal of updating and modernizing town records, Bethlehem Sole Assessor Laurie Lambertsen reached out to the paper’s editorial staff to clarify statements she made to board members.
“At the March 22 Town Board meeting I left the impression that the firm assisting with the residential inventory recollection work would be asking to enter all houses,” she wrote. “That will not happen.”
Lambertsen explained that homeowners will first be notified when appraisers will be in their neighborhood and that they will be primarily confirming the outside dimensions of the habitable structures on each property. Appraisers will knock on doors to alert homeowners to their presence, she said, ” . . . and they may confirm some information if a homeowner is present, but they will NOT ask to go inside to count rooms, bathrooms, etc. As Assessor, I may request an interior inspection if there is a big disparity between the current inventory on file and what was recollected, but the homeowner’s permission would be needed.”
Lambertsen said that she would present a more complete description of the process at the next Town Board meeting on April 12, and that a written description will be made available online.
“We want to have everyone’s data recorded correctly, because it’s unfair if someone’s taxes are based on an inaccurate description of their property,” she said. “But this isn’t a reassessment, and homeowners values only will be changed if major discrepancies are found.”