TOWN OF ANDES – REASSESSMENT MYTHS AND FACTS — December 2006

By Tina Moshier, Town of Andes Assessor

Before I begin I would like to take the opportunity to thank Trish Adams of the Catskill Mountain News for the information for last month’s article.  Without her research the article would not have been possible.

As we proceed with the Data Collection portion of the reassessment project I would like to thank everyone for their cooperation.  It has come to my attention that there are several rumors floating around town.  In an attempt to calm some of the fears this kind of misinformation creates, I am going to list some common myths and facts as they relate to the reassessment project in Andes.

Myth 1:  Supervisor Donnelly is doing this reassessment to raise taxes before we get Wind Turbines so when property values plummet we won’t lose too much in taxes.

Fact:  This project was started long before we had ever heard about Wind Turbines.  This is not Supervisor Donnelly’s pet project.  Reassessments are intended to restore fairness and uniformity within the community, to ensure that all property owners pay their fair share, and only their fair share, of taxes.  One thing has absolutely nothing to do with the other.

Myth 2:  The Assessor only wants to get inside to assess appliances.

Fact:  It is the Assessor’s duty to estimate market value.  To establish market value it is important to look at a number of factors, such as:

External Factors – “Curb Appeal” – home condition, lot size, popularity of architectural styles, water and sewer systems, sidewalks, paved roads, and views.

Internal Characteristics – Size and number of rooms, number of bedrooms and baths, heating type, construction quality, year built, and last year of any remodeling.

Supply and Demand – Number of homes for sale in the area versus the number of buyers and how quickly homes sell in our area.

Location – Desirability of a particular school district, neighborhood etc…

As you can see, more information collected allows us to more accurately set the fair market value.

Myth 3:  If Andes does this reassessment my taxes will go up.

Fact:  While it is true that the length of time (30 Yrs) between reassessments makes it more likely there will be an increase, it is not necessarily true.  The taxes are not set by the Assessor or by assessments but by the amount of the municipal budgets.

Myth 4:  New York State collects too much money through property taxes.

Fact:  New York State receives no money from the Real Property Taxes.  Your local governments and school districts collect property tax, which is their largest source of revenue.  That’s the main reason that property taxes and assessments are administered locally in New York.

Myth 5:  If the State makes “equalization rates” shouldn’t everyone’s taxes be equal.

Fact:  Equalization rates are intended to distribute taxes fairly among municipal segments such as the Towns within Delaware County and the Towns within a School district.  Without the equalization rates, appropriated tax rates could not be calculated for the municipalities.  It has nothing to do with fairness between taxpayers.

I hope that this will put to rest some of the rumors and possibly help people understand the importance of accurate record keeping.

Please know that your cooperation is beneficial to all and of great importance to this project.  If you have any questions or concerns not addressed here, please call me at 845-676-3737.