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Greenburgh Moves Forward With Townwide Reassessment

Greenburgh's townwide reassessment will cover the unincorporated area and its six villages and will take about two and half years to complete.
Greenburgh's townwide reassessment will cover the unincorporated area and its six villages and will take about two and half years to complete. Photo Credit: Town of Greenburgh

GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Greenburgh hasn't had a townwide property revaluation since the 1950s, but the town board is making steps to change that.

Town Assessor Edye McCarthy is preparing a Request for Proposals to solicit bids for outside corporations to conduct the townwide revaluation, which will cover both unincorporated Greenburgh and its surrounding villages. A bidder will be chosen by October and the reassessment will take two and a half years to complete, McCarthy said.

Greenburgh averages roughly 3,000 property assessment appeals every year — combine that with the Board of Assessment Review's reductions, certiorari and small-claims settlements, and the refunds amount to $10 million within Greenburgh for its taxing jurisdictions, McCarthy said. It's too premature to say how a reassessment will affect Greenburgh taxpayers, but a revaluation will illuminate property inequities in the community, she added.

"There's no way to tell what the impacts of taxes are going to be," McCarthy said. "With the town promoting a townwide reassessment, it will create equity among taxpayers."

Town Supervisor Paul Feiner pushed for a town reassessment after the Westchester County Executive office revealed in December that differences in property value assessments created a higher tax levy for 11 towns in 2013 and a lower levy for 14 towns. Greenburgh's tax levy increased by 2.1 percent even though the county budget's property tax levy did not change.

"A reassessment would stop the bleeding," Feiner said. "I would have preferred a countywide reassessment, but now we're going to do it on our own."

County legislators have weighed the idea of mandating a countywide reassessment every four years, and Assembly member Tom Abinanti (D-Greenburgh) introduced the Homeowners Relief Act in 2011 to  spearhead countywide revaluation by incentivizing local assessors to reassess properties using uniform standards.

A similar bill was approved by the County Board and both houses of the State Legislature in 1996, but was vetoed by then-Gov. George Pataki.

"This will help everyone because the town won't be giving away as much as we have been in tax grievances," Feiner said. "It's for long-term predictability and stability."

Greenburgh is still working with a dozen other communities in the county who are interested in a joint reassessment. Right now, the high-end price is set at about $4.5 million, but "the more communities we get, the cheaper it'll be," Feiner said.

Last year, Feiner joined Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano in sending letters to community leaders to participate in the reassessment. Spano confirmed in January the city has issued RFPs to conduct its first revaluation since 1954.

"That is money that could be used to build new schools, repair our streets and improve our parks," Spano wrote in his testimony for the state executive budget on Jan. 28.

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