Yesterday I posted a notice that the Town Board will hold a meeting with representatives of NYS on Tuesday to discuss adopting RPTL Section 1904 which allows for a phase in of new assessment changes over five years. No community in NYS has implemented this option. I have been receiving a number of e mails in favor of this option from residents who will be receiving significant tax hikes once the new assessments take effect in 2017. And, have also received e mails from those who want immediate tax reductions, without delay. The Town Board will discuss this matter at 9:30 AM on Tuesday during our work session. Our meetings are open to the public. The Town Board will also review with NYS and the Assessor whether property tax computation software is available.
All the Town Board members - Francis Sheehan, Diana Juettner, Ken Jones, Kevin Morgan and I - want to do the right thing for residents. We feel that reassessment is necessary for the town (our rolls were not updated in 60 years) and believe that taxpayers should be treated fairly. We don't want to continue to pay significant certiorari refunds to corporate taxpayers at every Town Board meeting --reducing revenues to the town. The town had lost up to $10 million dollars a year (town, school, fire district) in certiorari refunds.
We recognize that the new assessments, if not mitigated, could cause large numbers of residents in sections of town (Hastings, Ardsley, Edgemont, Irvington were hit hard) to be forced to sell their homes. We also recognize that more than 2/3rds of the town will benefit from the reassessment - no tax hikes or tax reductions. We will consider all mitigation initiatives. Another suggestion made by a resident yesterday is also being reviewed:
A commercial property tax loan option with the loan secured by a lien on the property, as suggested by another of our residents, seems like another option to consider. It may require state legislation. We will also push for state legislation to increase the income eligibility for senior tax breaks. I have been in touch with our State Legislators - Andrea Stewart Cousins and Tom Abinanti and have also invited their offices to help us come up with possible state legislation that could be helpful to those who face tax hikes that are significant.
Westchester County has not reassessed properties county wide and about half of the county (possible more than half) has not reassessed in decades. Someone told me that one community in Westchester last reassessed prior to the Civil War! If the town is able to oversee a smooth reassessment transition - it could encourage the rest of the county to finally reassess --which would be good for the county. Why should two families - living in the exact same house - pay thousands of dollars more or less than their neighbor?
Any mitigation suggestions you have that could help those who will face tax hikes would be greatly appreciated. E mail town firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts. And- hope to see you Tuesday morning at 9:30 AM or on April 13th when we will hold our public hearing at 7:30 PM at Town Hall.
Green burgh Town Supervisor