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Flooding, erosion crippling home assessment values

Rick Davis said his home is no longer worth what it was assessed for May 1.

Hamlin, N.Y. - There is a new burden for homeowners along Lake Ontario who are already faced with flooding and erosion. Property assessments in many lake shore communities are not what they were just weeks ago.

When Rick Davis bought his home, it had a deck, a yard and a waterfront view. Now, it is teetering on the edge of falling into Lake Ontario. Davis and dozens of homeowners in the Town of Hamlin said they are frustrated because their biggest investments are no longer worth what they used to be.

"I am running out of land quick," Rick Davis told 13WHAM News. "I am one storm away from losing the white house."

Davis owns two waterfront homes on the same street. The total assessment value for both is $175,000. In a matter of weeks, it is possible neither home will be standing.

"Because things have changed in the last 30 days or less than 30 days, my homes could be worth nothing," Rick Davis added. "I know for sure I could not sell either today."

Hamlin's town assessor, Dan Stanford, is encouraging those facing flooding or devastating loss to grieve their assessments at Town Hall on May 25. He said it is vital homeowners provide documentation, like "before and after" pictures on Google Earth.

If a home is destroyed or falls into the lake after May 25, you cannot reassess until the following May.

"You will be valued as if there was a house there," Dan Stanford said. "It is not fair, but that is the law."

If that is the case, the Davis family will continue to pay taxes on both homes, even if they are in the lake.

Homeowners can appear before the town assessor May 25 from 4-8 p.m.

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