Created: May 10, 2021 06:42 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The sticker shock comes in the mail when people see what their town thinks their house is worth.
We are coming out of the dark days of COVID and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and yet thousands of homeowners in five towns in Monroe County are getting told their assessment is up tens of thousands of dollars. And the number of reassessments in cities and towns statewide more than triples the average over the last six years.
It just doesn't make sense to them. Rhonda and her friend, Marla Volger, commiserated on the size of their re-assessments. Rhonda's is $21,000.
"I had quite the sticker shock as well," Volger said. "My assessment went up $71,000."
They live in Chili, one of five towns in Monroe County in a reassessment. So I went to the Chili Town Hall.
Brean: "People are complaining to us about their assessments. When they call your office, what do you tell them?"
David Dunning, Chili Town Supervisor: "The first thing I tell them is, I don't assess their property."
I called the Chili assessor's office. They passed me onto the supervisor.
Brean: "You control the taxes."
Dunning: "I control the taxes. I have control of the taxes."
Brean: "Okay, so if someone's assessment goes up a significant amount, what do you tell them?"
Dunning: "It doesn't mean their taxes are going to go up. Their town taxes."
That's because the state tax cap only allows towns to raise their tax levy—the total amount of money collected—by a maximum of 2%.
Dunning says they're seeing a significant increase in assessments.
Dunning: "So what's likely to happen is we will have a significant reduction in the tax rate."
That's the town tax. The proposed school tax rate in Churchville Chili School District for homeowners in Chili is already down 6% because of the reassessment.
Are the increases fair and accurate?
Rhonda's home is currently assessed at $134,000.
I gave the details of her home to real estate broker Mary Jane Mahon at Re/Max Plus and she found 25 comparable homes in the same ZIP code sold in the last five years.
Mahon: "And of the 25 homes, only one sold, I'm sorry, two sold for under $150,000. They range in price from $215,000 to $147,000."
And that's about where Rhonda's reassessment is.
"It's a seller's market right now and I understand that," she said. "However when the seller's market goes down the value of my house is not going to go down. So to take that in a time where we are right now I don't think is fair to the homeowners."
So what can you do?
Watch the video below for advice from Mary Jane Mahon and an insider pro tip (mobile users, click here).
Now: Is there a nexus between reassessments and this booming housing market?
Here's the data from the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. This is the number of reassessments in cities and towns across New York State since 2015. Click here to search the list and find your town.
There are 170 reassessments in 2021. Compared to 63 in 2020, 80 in 2019, 65 in 2018, 34 in 2017, 32 in 2016 and 28 in 2015. The number of reassessments in 2021 is more than double the most number of reassessments statewide in the past six years.
Here are the towns doing a reassessment locally in 2021:
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