Assessing the Reassessment… A Conversation with Mayor Smith

To say that the Town of Greenburgh’s reassessment was particularly hard felt in Irvington is a safe assessment. In speaking candidly with Irvington’s Mayor, Brian Smith, River Journal asked what his major concern was. “I think that after 60 years we expected pain and a lot of issues, but at the end of the day my biggest concern is – have we accomplished the goal of fairly assessing home values or have we moved around the people who were under-assessed or over-assessed?”

Mayor Smith went on to add that he is confident that procedures are in place within the Town of Greenburgh for those who feel their properties were over-assessed. “To me we also have to look at those who were under-assessed because the goal is to get this reassessment right and have people’s homes reflect their fair market value. If we don’t have confidence in that, then this has been a $2.8 million painful exercise that didn’t get us very much,” he said.

Smith met with both the Town Supervisor Paul Feiner and Town Assessor Edye McCarthy and felt that both people wanted to get this situation right. “I think that after 60 years both the Supervisor and Assessor expected some friction in the process.  An old classmate of mine from Irvington High School, Brian Friedman, has been very active and did a statistical analysis of the Irvington School District properties with old and new values, and eventually expanded his work to include 800 properties. He shared it with me, so I shared it with Greenburgh. When I presented this to  Feiner and  McCarthy they were very interested, and at the end of the day were in agreement to look at some of the under-assessed properties,” he added.

“Some in Irvington saw their assessments increase dramatically with some tax increases in excess of 50%,” Mayor Smith said. Supervisor Feiner is exploring a 3-year phase-in payment plan (with a gradual tax increase each year X 3 years) for the additional taxes to be paid by homeowners, under the State STAR program, who also don’t earn over $500,000 annually. “This is trying to make the best of a bad situation,” Smith noted.

It has been reported that both State Senator Andrea Stewart Cousins and Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti are working to get this approved for the Town of Greenburgh. Irvington would certainly benefit.

Only time, effort and end results will tell if Greenburgh’s reassessment will prove to be equitable or simply another means of procuring tax revenue.

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About the Author: Robert Bonvento