Town Hopes to Avoid Problems Caused by Last Year’s Reval

Town assessor Glenn Droese, left, and consulting assessor Edye McCarthy at last week's Town Board meeting Credits: Bob Dumas

MAHOPAC, N.Y.  - In the wake of a controversial townwide property revaluation that wrapped up in the spring of 2017—the first reval in more than 20 years—town officials are taking measures so that the “sticker shock” that resulted from that project doesn’t happen again.

“We are doing a systematic analysis of all the properties in town, which is called a ‘non-reappraisal reassessment,’ ” said Edye McCarthy, the town’s consulting assessor. “Every year going forward, we will be doing this systematic analysis, so once the market increases, the assessments will increase, and if the market decreases, assessment decreases will take place, as well.”

Last year, many property owners saw dramatic increases in their property assessment after the revaluation was completed. Much of that was attributed to the fact that the assessments hadn’t been updated in more than two decades. At last week’s Town Board meeting, assessor Glenn Droese, along with McCarthy, gave a presentation on how they hope to prevent that from ever happening again, as well as provide the board with an update on this year’s assessment process.

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Droese noted that the town will now assess properties at 100 percent market value and maintain that rate moving forward now that the reval is complete.
“For the past year, we’ve been preparing the 2018 assessment roll,” he said. “We conducted the non-reappraisal reassessment, which is a systematic analysis of all the properties within the town and with this analysis, we determine trends in the market for each market area. Going forward, the town assessor’s office will keep our assessments at 100 percent full-market value. We are in the final stages of assessment review for this year and we are working closely with GAR Associates and McCarthy Consulting to complete this.”

“[The Town Board] committed last year to maintain these values at 100 percent, so the assessor’s office will now be reviewing them every single year,” McCarthy added.
Droese said that market trends from 2017 have been applied to the 2018 tentative assessments. Those assessments will be available for review by the public starting May 1 on the town’s website or in person at Town Hall.

“All property owners should review their assessment annually to determine if they reflect current full-market value,” Droese said. “If they find the assessment is too high, they should prepare their information to support their claim— [with things such as] appraisals and the sale of similar homes. 

“We view the applications as they come in and try to reach an agreement,” Droese continued. “If no agreement can be reached, the application then goes to the Board of Assessment Review.”

The Board of Assessment Review will meet May 22 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Town Hall. Its determination of the grievances presented that night will be mailed to the property owners on July 1.

“We strongly recommend that when you get your [assessment notice] that first week in May that you review them,” McCarthy said. “For the 2018 assessment, it should reflect the current market value of your property. What that means is if you think you can sell it for that amount of money, that is the current market value.”
McCarthy said that from May 1 to May 21, the assessor’s office has the ability to discuss the assessment and make changes accordingly based on the information the homeowner brings in. 

“But on May 22, the Board of Assessment Review takes over and it is out of the assessor’s hands,” she said.

McCarthy said property values could go up for two reasons: market trends or improvements to the property.

Asked by the board whether they’ve noticed a market trend going up or down within the town, McCarthy said, “We are still in the final stages of making those determinations.”

But some board members noted that a lack of inventory on the real estate market is pushing some home prices upward.

Councilman Jonathan Schneider said he has heard about bidding wars erupting over some homes that have people paying higher than the asking price.

“We will get a report from GAR telling us what neighborhoods have gone up and what neighborhoods have gone down,” McCarthy said.

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