The Town of Greenburgh thinks Edgemont property owners should be required to pay more next year for town services, while property owners in the rest of unincorporated Greenburgh should pay less.

As a result, the Town last week hiked assessed values on all private homes in Edgemont, regardless of size, neighborhood or condition, by 4%, while leaving assessed values in the rest of unincorporated Greenburgh essentially unchanged. Homes that were renovated saw their assessed values go up even higher.

Consequently, Edgemont’s share of Town’s expenses next year will increase from 24% to 26.3%. At that rate, if Edgemont does not incorporate, its share of the Town’s tax levy will likely reach 30% or more. In 2005, Edgemont’s share was only 22%.

In terms of dollars, the increase in Edgemont’s assessed value will almost certainly make the case for Edgemont’s incorporation more compelling economically.

Assuming a tax levy next year of $57 million to cover expenses for the Towns’ unincorporated area, Edgemont’s 26.3% share comes to $15 million which, when added to revenues from sales tax, mortgage tax, and other fees likely to be generated if Edgemont were to incorporate, the new village would start off with at least $17 million in annual revenue, not including the $9 million in fire district revenue.  The proposed budget next year for the Village of Hastings, which is roughly the same size as Edgemont, is only $15 million. 

In its economic feasibility study, the Edgemont Incorporation Committee had conservatively estimated Edgemont’s share of Town taxes to be 24% and assumed a total tax levy of only $56 million which, when added to other anticipated revenue, would have generated around $16.5 million in annual revenue.

This week’s sudden hike in Edgemont’s assessments means that the proposed village will have at least $500,000 more revenue to work with per year than anticipated.  That additional revenue could fund capital projects that might otherwise have been deferred or an elected village government might even choose to reduce municipal taxes.

Of course, the longer the Town is able to delay a vote on Edgemont’s incorporation, the longer the Town will be able to continue to collect these new higher taxes from Edgemont property owners. At the same time, the more tax burden that the Town can shift from the rest of unincorporated Greenburgh to Edgemont, the more money taxpayers in the rest of unincorporated Greenburgh will save.

The new assessments were reflected in the Town’s 2017 tentative assessment roll, which was published on the Town’s website last week; however, Edgemont residents did not receive written notification of the hikes in their assessments until yesterday and today.

In its letter to town residents informing them of their change in assessed value, the Town nowhere disclosed that Edgemont’s increase was 4%, that other areas of unincorporated Greenburgh remained flat, and that as a result, Edgemont’s share of the Town’s tax burden would increase substantially.  Total assessed value in the Hartsdale Fire District went down 1%, while total assessed value in the Fairview Fire District went up 2%.

The new assessed values are based on the Town’s estimate of the value of a home as of July 1, 2016.  The prior assessed value was as of July 1, 2015.  Thus, by increasing Edgemont’s assessments by 4%, the Town is taking the position that all Edgemont homes increased in value over that 12-month period by 4%, while the value of all other homes in unincorporated Greenburgh remained essentially the same.

By law, if any property owner believes his or her assessment exceeds the market value of his or her home, they have between June 1 and June 20 to file a grievance.

Because all assessed values in Edgemont went up by 4%, the increase itself is not expected to have any impact at all on the total dollar amount of Edgemont school and Greenville fire taxes that an Edgemont property owner will have to pay. Those taxes together comprise 70% of the total property tax bill.

The Town’s tax assessor, Edye McCarthy, said the new assessments were determined as part of the Town’s effort to ensure that all properties continue to be assessed at 100% of market value, which was the stated goal of last year’s reassessment performed by Tyler Technologies.

Ms. McCarthy said that assessments this year were revised by her office and Tyler either upward or downward based on an analysis of certain unspecified “sales ratios” and application of certain undisclosed computer assisted mass appraisal software.  The continued shift in tax burden from the rest of unincorporated Greenburgh to Edgemont is due to the Town’s conclusion that property values in Edgemont were accelerating at a far greater pace than the rest of unincorporated Greenburgh.

The Town did not produce any data showing how it determined that all of Edgemont’s single family homes appreciated in value by 4% within the past year, while assessed values every else in unincorporated Greenburgh remained flat.

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