The Niagara Falls assessor’s office is preparing to conduct a citywide property reassessment next year.

Mayor Vince Anello’s proposed budget for 2008 includes more than a $200,000 addition to the assessor’s office, with most of the increase going for a consultant to perform the city’s first assessment in three years, Assessor Dom Penale said.

Penale presented his department’s $717,741 spending plan to City Council members during a special work session Monday. The assessment, which will now be done every three years, will cost around $175,000 with work trickling over to the first part of 2009.

“This would be a citywide reassessment, and every parcel would be reviewed,” Penale said.

There are roughly 21,000 taxable properties in the city — 18,000 residential and 3,000 commercial, Penale said.

Councilmembers also heard budget presentations from the human resources, planning and management information services departments.

The planning department’s proposed budget would increase from $209,501 to $279,098 under the mayor’s proposal, but staffing levels would remain stagnant despite a heavy workload, City Planner Tom DeSantis said.

During his presentation, DeSantis said he feels the city has not taken seriously the personnel restraints of the department. Councilman Lewis “Babe” Rotella invited DeSantis to suggest necessary additions, but the city planner opted to wait until next year’s budget process to give the incoming mayor time to set his or her priorities.

DeSantis does have $13,600 available to hire interns to share some of the burden. The proposed budget also reflects an increase of $50,000 for consulting to help the department develop plans for city park upgrades.

The human resources budget reflects an increase from $429,463 this year to $508,721. The bulk of the jump will be to create a new $48,200 position in the office needed to address the volume of work.

Councilmembers heard good news about the management information services department’s proposed budget, which shows a slight decrease in spending, from $504,307 to $482,723.

The final budget presentation is scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday with the council reviewing the legal department. Residents can speak out about the overall $88.8 million budget for 2008 during a public hearing at 7 p.m. Monday at City Hall.

Contact reporter Rick Forgione at 282-2311, ext. 2257.

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