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Prattsville Flood Recovery: A Progress Report

Most Catskill Mountain communities have recovered from the damage wrought by twin storms Irene and Lee nearly two years ago. Things are not quite back to normal for hard-hit Prattsville —  the town that, for a time, became a poster child for hurricane destruction in New York.

Irene wrecked 21 properties in downtown Prattsville. Brian Young is head of Young's General Store on Washington Street... the Prattsville Agway has been a fixture in town for over 54 years. 75 percent of the building had to be torn down after the flood. 90 percent of the family business' inventory was swept away.

Steven James Creazzo is a filmmaker from New Jersey - his family lives in Prattsville and he shoots his movies there. He plans to resume filming in town. He believes movie production will inject cash thanks to an influx of cast and crew.

Brian Young is happy that the municipality is coming back, but worries about some growing pains in the form of higher taxes looming as the town moves forward.

When Kim Cammer took over as Town Assessor, she faced the daunting task of re-appraisal, because all previous property records had been washed away. She spent months working out of a trailer with no photos, records or much else to go by. Cammer went about visiting properties and putting together information regarding real estate sales in recent years so she could arrive at a fair determination of market values.

Cammer points out that historically, one-third of the people's taxes may go up, one-third decrease and one-third stay the same.  She says that “Impact Notices” detailing new assessments and explaining the town budgeting process have been sent out to property owners, who will be able to request face-to-face meetings with contractors and appraisers to question their assessments.

Meetings are to be held March 4th through 6th, at the Prattsville firehouse. The assessors  are expected to come up with a final determination and release their findings by May 1st. A Grievance Day will be held on the fourth Friday in May when formal appeals can be made to the local Board of Assessment Review.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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