Assessments, NYS and taxing authorities
In January, the Town of Sweden was notified by the NYS office of Real Property Services that our residential properties were significantly underassessed. I undertook adjustments based on NYS’s requirements. Then COVID-19 struck.
I waited a couple of weeks later than normal this year to send out assessment notices because I believed that the Governor might issue an executive order cancelling all reassessments across the state. Every day a new executive order has come out from the Governor about all types of things, but not one cancelling assessment updates, holding tax rolls across flat (except for new construction) and not assigning punitive equalization rates to any municipality. He has the power to do so and many believe he should use that power like he has done with so many other things. I suppose an executive order could still come out in the next couple of weeks but we just don’t know. I believe that would be the best thing for the Governor to do. It would ensure that no property taxpayers would be penalized for a Town assessor not bringing assessments up to the level set by the state.
Many people confuse assessments with taxes. I do not determine your taxes. Assessments determine the share of taxes you pay. For those of you who live in the Village of Brockport, this new assessment won’t be the assessment used to calculate your village tax bill in June. If your village taxes go up, it’s because the Village Board raised the tax levy.
The first tax bill that will be based on the new assessments is the school tax bill in September. I cannot tell you what your school taxes will be. I don’t know how much the school board is going to levy in taxes. If you don’t want your school taxes to go up in September, you should call your school board members now. They are the ones who will determine how much taxes are levied on this community in September.
The same is true for Monroe County. In January 2020, the county levied $7,196,120 on Sweden taxpayers. If you don’t want your county taxes to go up in 2021, call your county representatives and tell them not to levy more than $7.2 million on Sweden this year.
Finally, your smallest tax bills are from the Town of Sweden and the Brockport Fire District. The current fire district rate is $1.20 per thousand and the Town rate is $2.59 in the village and $4.63 in the town outside. I know the Town is committed to lowering the tax rate and keeping the levy increase to less than 2% (except for the new water district).
I am committed to working through this process with each of you despite the social distancing requirements. We can exchange information by mail, drop box, email, fax and phone. Let’s not allow Albany’s inaction on assessments during the COVID-19 pandemic put Sweden at a financial disadvantage. Let’s work together to get your assessment right and to make sure that Sweden taxpayers are not penalized by an equalization rate or a loss in state aid and revenue sharing.