I enjoyed Arnold Thiesfeldt’s recent article on Tax Certioraris. Allow me to add some further thoughts. Many mistakenly assume that successfully grieving their Village of Tarrytown assessment will affect the homeowner’s school taxes. This is not true. Some assume that a house is reassessed when it is sold…also untrue. The village tax assessment is solely used to calculate village taxes and though relief on that front is welcome, it is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. School taxes, which account for approximately two thirds of the total property tax bill, are calculated based on the Town of Greenburgh’s assessment of your property. If you live in Sleepy Hollow the same is true except that it is the Town of Mt. Pleasant that determines the assessment which ultimately calculates your school taxes. Greenburgh and Mt. Pleasant hold their own Grievance Days. Anyone can go to the Town of Greenburgh’s website, click on GIS maps and view assessments on any property in the Town. It is a very revealing process. Many large, older homes enjoy assessments that are far lower than the value of the property because they have not had visible renovations which would have invited the assessor’s appearance at the door. If my house is worth $500,000 and your house is worth $500,000 our taxes should be the same regardless of the age or size of our respective homes. The value of the property is meant to determine the property taxes. The inequities in many cases are startling but reassessment is an expensive, unpopular, time consuming and imprecise option. Many villages have already begun a local reassessment. The same is not true of the towns. The town reassessment process clearly has the greatest potential to effect the homeowner’s property taxes for good or for bad, hence the fear of what reassessment will mean to the individual homeowner. Eventually the huge sums of monies spent on successful tax certioraris will force the issue. Reassessment is not a perfect solution but it is more equitable than what we are currently doing which is akin to plugging holes in a dam which is doomed to give way any minute.
Patricia Hogan Nyarady