By Tina Moshier, Town of Andes Assessor

New York State law section 305 requires that the properties in New York State are to be taxed equitably and at a uniform percentage of value.

Enter the Assessor:

You probably know that the Assessor prepares an assessment roll each year and makes it available to the public by May 1st so anyone can come in and discuss their assessment. The Assessor’s job is to try and keep assessments in balance with everyone else’s so, no matter how much you pay, everyone is sharing the pain fairly.    The Assessor does not determine the rate of your taxes or how much taxes will rise each year. Your Town, County, School, Fire district, Water district, Sewer district and Light district governments do that annually at budget time.

The Assessor must go out and review each and every sale of property and make sure that the property is accurately assessed and that it matches the inventory in the Assessor’s office.  An accurate inventory is crucial. During a property transfer, new construction, or significant property enhancements, the Assessor can look at the old assessment and see if the property has changed materially since it was last assessed.

But, here’s the big “Catch 22” for the Assessor: He or she can’t change any single assessment unless something changed between the assessment of record and what exists now on the property. Only certain large events such as construction, additions, rezoning, or demolition give the Assessor the power to change an assessment, no matter how old or out of date the assessment seems.

So, if Farmer Brown has been living in a 12 bedroom farmhouse for 50 years and Ms Soho buys a 12 bedroom farmhouse that is very similar and pays $500,000 for it, the Assessor can’t simply push up Ms. Soho’s assessment because of the high sale price. New York State says the Assessor can’t raise Ms. Soho’s assessment because it’s not fair unless everyone gets reassessed at the same current market value.

Now, to complicate things, in steps the New York State Office of Real Property Services.  As property in New York State goes through its Busts and Booms, some areas become “hot” and others go through slumps.  The State looks at the big picture everywhere and then they look at current sales in your town, along with other factors.

They see that people are paying pretty high prices for homes and land in your township.  Then they compare the town’s assessments, most of which haven’t been changed since the last town revaluation 30 years ago.  They determine an annual ratio that equalizes that disparity and they call it the equalization rate.  For Andes right now the State Equalization rate is 21%.

That’s the state’s way of saying that Andes actual assessments only represent 21% of the town total current value “On the Market”.

What does the equalization rate do to your assessment?  Nothing.  Your assessment stays the same, year after year.

The scary number you see go up every year on your tax notice is your property’s “Full Market Value”.  That’s simply the assessed value of your property multiplied by the “Uniform Percentage of Value” applied to every assessed property in your town.  It’s New York State’s attempt to give you an approximation of how much your property is worth now, based on the current market situation in your town, versus its value when it was assessed 30 years ago.  Full market value has nothing to do with how much you are taxed.

As time passes, the inventories have become outdated and the Town Board of Andes felt that to be fair, a reassessment project was necessary to bring our town up to 100% of value and to create a uniform and equitable tax roll.  The Town board has hired Appraisal Associates out of Rochester to help the Assessor complete this task for the 2008 tax roll.

You will be contacted by the Data Management team to look at your homes.  Accurate inventories are crucial for fairness and uniformity, so we are requesting that homeowners allow the professionals to look at their homes to verify the inventory information (# of rooms, square footage, pictures, etc.)

The trained professionals will have identification and you can contact the Assessor, Tina Moshier to ask questions at 676-3737, between 9am and 3 pm.  All messages will be returned.

Remember:  As the Equalization rate and Assessments go up the tax rates will come down. ~