New technology, market conditions, inflation = higher assessments
By Andrew Harris
If you own a real estate in Allegany County then property taxes were already too high. Based on per capita income, the county has one of the highest tax rates in the nation. Recent property tax rate cuts by the Allegany County Legislature have allowed places like Wellsville to slowly move away from titles like “Highest taxes in New York State.”
That said, Allegany County property owners are not happy with the reassessment letters arriving in the mail. In the town of Andover, heads shake as they report that, “my assessed value went waaaayyyy up!”
This shouldn’t come as a big surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to the economy. Even prior to the Covid-19 episode, Allegany County property values were on the rise. When the pandemic arrived, the work-from-home era began and many of those living in city townhouses decided to move to a home with a view. Allegany County property values increased dramatically and the inventory of available homes vanished. Now county, and state, officials have announced a housing shortage crisis.
Supply and demand forces made your home, acreage, or vacation camp worth ten to one hundred percent more valuable on the market. That value is the basis for our property tax system.
Several towns in our county share an assessor, who is charged with surveying the properties and providing an updated valuation. The assessor uses traditional techniques such as building permits, sale prices of similar properties, and new home construction costs to determine a property value. For this reassessment, Allegany County has provided a new powerful tool: updated aerial images of every property in Allegany County.
Check out the new technology that is called Eagleview https://www.eagleview.com/
Previous to this investment by the county, assessors were utilizing aerial images that were dated or not useful. These updated database of properties is high-tech and shows the assessor how the property has changed over time. For those who may have added a big deck out back, or refurbished a previously dilapitated barn without a building permit, these images and accompanying software give the assessor that information.
Considering the Covid-19 related spike in value, a real supply-demand issue, and new technology very few property owners can expected a decrease in assessed value.
For the many who can expect a new assessed value, what can you do to respectfully disagree with the assessors findings(don’t forget the assessor is not the tax authority.) We asked Assessor Joe Dannheim about that process:
” In the assessment change notice the residents received from the revaluation project there is information on the informal meeting we are holding in each Town and the date of Grievance. The Informal meetings are by appointment only and are between me and the property owners, these are being held in February. After these meetings, if they are dissatisfied with the meeting results they can take their complaint and evidence to the Board of Assessment Review on Grievance night and present their case before them (Alma- May 28th & Andover- May 30th). I have attached the document RP-524 which needs to be filled out and turned in to me before the Grievance meeting. If they are dissatisfied with the decision of the BAR, they may seek judicial review.”
Below is the State web page information on the Grievance process.