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HOW TO DETERMINE WHETHER YOUR NEW ASSESSMENT WENT UP OR DOWN

Residents do not need to wait to receive a letter from the Town of Greenburgh to know whether their assessments are going up or down.  UPDATE:  Nor do residents have to wait for the letter before contacting Tyler to get a review.

The information is already available online, but the Town, for reasons unknown, has elected not to tell anyone how to find it.  ALL TYLER REQUIRES TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT IS YOUR PARCEL ID NUMBER WHICH IS ALSO ONLINE.

All Tyler appointments are held at Greenburgh Town Hall; they are scheduling 15-minute appointments on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during the day, all day on Saturdays. Evening appointments are also offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

In order to determine whether you were among the 24% of Greenburgh property owners who were under-assessed and your assessment went up, or whether you were among the lucky 34% who had been over-assessed and are getting a reduction, here’s what you do.

First, look up your assessment from 2015. That assessment can be found online on the Town’s website by going to the GIS link on the left side of the Town’s homepage. Once you are in the GIS system, type in your address by street number and street name.

Up will pop your tax information on the right side of the page. Click on the tab entitled “assessment” and you’ll see your assessment expressed in 1956 dollars.

UPDATE:  To determine what that translates into in 2015 dollars, the Town wants you to to divide that number by the Town’s “equalization rate” for 2015. The equalization rate for Greenburgh in 2015 was 3.09%.  So, for example, if your assessment is, say, $37,950, you divide that number by 3.09% (or 0.0309 on your calculator) and you’ll get $1,228,155.  That’s what your current assessment is.

(We had previously reported that you should divide by the so-called Residential Assessment Rate or RAR for Greenburgh which in 2015 was 2.61%.  Indeed, that’s what the Town Tax Assessor had been telling residents to do, and, for purposes of grieving your taxes, state law says you may use the market value you get using the RAR.  But the Town has since pulled the 2.61% RAR from its website and is telling residents to use the 3.09% number).

Now to find out what Tyler Technologies has determined your assessment for 2016 should be, go back once again to the Town’s homepage and click on the heading on the right side of the page that says, “CLICK HERE FOR NEW ASSESSMENT AND PROPERTY INFORMATION.”

What that page opens, you can look up your proposed assessment either by your address or by your name, whichever is easier for you. Obviously if your name is Smith or Jones, it may be easier to use your address because otherwise a lot of names will pop up.

Then, once you open that page, you’ll see a description of the property which you should check to make sure it has your name on it as the owner. Then look on the left side of the page, and you’ll see near the top a button for “value.” Click on the “value” button, and you’ll see your new assessment.

If the new assessment is higher than the assessment you already have, chances are good you live in Edgemont, which is where it appears most of the 24% of the Greenburgh homes with higher assessments are located. But not everybody in Edgemont received a higher assessment.

Some received a lower assessment, but the new assessment was not nearly low enough. In the case of the seven nearly identical homes on Old Colony Road, that were all built by the same builder at the same time, some of the assessments were lower, but Tyler still managed to come up with differences among the seven of as much as $250,000.

Residents who find themselves faced with that situation will have to take the matter up with Tyler, and if that doesn’t work, they’ll have to grieve their taxes between June 1 and June 21, and if that doesn’t work, they‘ll have to take the Town to court through the Small Claims Assessment Review (SCAR) process.

Tyler will accept calls up until April 8, but the Town says no one may call Tyler to complain until they first get the official letter from the Town notifying them of their new assessment.  It is not clear why the Town won’t let people call Tyler if they already know their new assessment looks to be incorrect.

Anyone who wants to take the matter up with Tyler must first arm themselves with evidence of what they believe their property is really worth, or to be specific, what it was worth on July 1, 2015.   This could take several forms. It could be the results of Tyler’s assessments on homes identical to yours; if you’ve refinanced recently, it could be the results of an appraisal, or if any homes similar to yours have sold within the past year or two, it could be by examining those comparables.

Less likely to persuade Tyler is an argument that your neighbor’s assessment is too high or too low, because the issue is about the value not of your neighbor’s house, but your own. Also, arguing that your kitchen isn’t as nice as your neighbor’s, who received a lower assessment that you did, might be helpful, but subjective arguments about the relative deterioration of your home probably won’t do the trick, unless you present 8 x10 glossies of your water damage, warped floors and cracked foundation.

So far the highest reported assessment hike is 93.6% for an elaborate stone house on Ardsley Road in Edgemont that, when it was built a few years ago, a number of Edgemont residents thought at the time was grossly under-assessed. They were right.

Last year’s assessment for that house was $33,400 which translates to $1,080,906, but Tyler has come up with a new assessment for that property of $2,092,900, which is an increase in one year of $1,011,993 or 93.6%!  For school taxes in Edgemont, which is 60% of the total property tax bill, that increase in assessment represents $17,263 more next year in school taxes for that property.   (If the homeowner qualifies for BASIC STAR, i.e., he or she earns less than $500K per year, the increase will be reduced, but not by much).

More typical is a home in Edgemont (on Edgemont Road) whose assessment last year was $21,200, which using the equalization rate, translates to a market value of $686,084. Tyler has come up with a proposed new assessment for that property of $1,074,300, which is an increase of 56.6%. In terms of Edgemont school tax, that increase represents an additional $3,700.  Whether that property was grossly under-assessed or whether Tyler’s figure is right will turn on what the owner of that property can show is true market value of what the property was worth on July 1, 2015.

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