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Aug 23, 2016 10:32 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Assessor Pushes For Reassessment Of All Commercial Properties

Southampton Town Board discusses commercial property reassessments with Town Sole Assessor Lisa Goree.  JEN NEWMAN
Aug 23, 2016 5:33 PM

A proposal to reassess the estimated 3,000 commercial properties in Southampton Town for taxing purposes is raising red flags among some Town Board members.

Southampton Town Sole Assessor Lisa Goree has suggested that the board approve a plan to reassess all of the town’s commercial properties by asking property owners to voluntarily supply specific information—leases, income and expense data, tax returns, and property appraisals—to Town Hall.

The collected information, Ms. Goree said during last week’s Town Board work session, would be used by her office to calculate the 2018 assessments for the town’s commercial properties. The last such assessment was completed in the same manner in 2009, meaning that most of the town’s data is now outdated, she added.

Unlike with residential properties, which are taxed based solely on the property’s value, commercial property taxes are levied based on a combination of financial factors.

But Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman raised concerns about the proposal, stating that such a requirement could discourage commercial property owners from participating in a reassessment—with most assuming that their assessments, and tax bills, would go up. He was quick to point out that such a scenario would not automatically happen under such a system.

“This could actually help someone lower their property taxes,” Mr. Schneiderman said. “I think there’s a lot of properties that are overtaxed. It could be a good thing. I think it is all in the way this is approached. If they think they have to do this, and it’s going to increase their property taxes, it’s going to blow up.”

Ms. Goree pointed out that the 2009 assessment was well-received by most commercial property owners. She also stressed that the data collected seven years ago is now outdated.

“We know that market rates have changed since then,” she said. “We’ve seen some community assessments go up and some go down. It all depends on property type and locations. I would rather be proactive and do the analysis now rather than wait.”

Staffing issues in Ms. Goree’s office, which has 11 employees, have made it difficult for them to complete such an ambitious townwide assessment. She added that, currently, not a single assessor has been assigned to focus solely on the town’s commercial properties.

Ms. Goree explained that her office updates and reviews commercial properties annually, but the assessments are often based on information garnered from similar businesses and, therefore, are not always accurate to a specific commercial property. She said the current set-up also results in the filing of grievances by commercial land owners—though she declined to say how many such grievances her office receives annually.

Alternative solutions brought up at last week’s work session include establishing a part-time commercial property assessor position, or assigning current staff to work directly with commercial business owners who think they are being taxed unfairly. Mr. Schneiderman noted that the ensuing discussion highlights the need for additional staffing in the assessor’s office—though he does not know if assessing the town’s commercial properties is a pressing need.

Councilwoman Christine Scalera and Councilman John Bouvier concurred with Mr. Schneiderman’s concerns, noting they would like to see more data on the number of grievances filed before advancing any such plan. “I’m not entirely convinced this is not a solution looking for a problem,” Ms. Scalera said.

“If we do we have a problem, let’s define it first,” Mr. Bouvier added.

Ms. Goree said her office will take a close look at the number of commercial grievances that have been filed over the past few years and report back to the board at a later date.

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Lets kick the owners out so we can have the most abandoned businesses in the area...
We can have many "Nuptune's" scattered around. Better yet let's make them Bodegas and give the illegals freedom to be tax evaders!!!
Let's!!!! Ok Buffy
By Rayman (51), southampton on Aug 23, 16 11:45 AM
While we are at it, let's reassess the number of people on town payroll, trim down the size of the govt and eliminate some ballooned salaries and then the town won't be in such need to create additional tax revenue. Sounds like a win win, reassess away
By icecreamman (303), Southampton on Aug 23, 16 12:34 PM
1 member liked this comment
Its all public record. Go get the info, do an empirical study of salaries/positions at similar sized town, and chop away.

It will be slightly more effective than posting on a newspapers site.

Do you have a valid reason to indicate that commercial properties should not share the tax burden?
By But I'm a blank! (1274), Hampton Bays on Aug 23, 16 12:59 PM
If this initiative is anything like the residential re-assessment the Town undertakes it take place in a smoke-filled back room, hidden from view of the public. The CPF and the Assessor will work together to determine which properties they want to acquire and that will be the primary determinant in setting the assessment. The values will rise to 2x or 3X the existing values, then be reassessed at 1/4 that when they make the purchase offer. If you have the money to hire a lawyer and sue you'll ...more
By Funbeer (204), Southampton on Aug 23, 16 1:51 PM
1 member liked this comment
The bank says my house is literally half what the town says it's worth. So what's it really worth with the town says and they charge me taxes on it?
Or What the bank says they lend me money on it? The bank says it's worthless
By dave h (176), calverton on Aug 23, 16 9:03 PM
just give us the numbers Ms Goree no need for a "close look"how many employee are you going to assign to this task?
By watchdog1 (401), Southampton on Aug 23, 16 9:18 PM
The assessors job is to raise money to cover the towns operating budget. They cannot raise additional funds. If the commercial properties are lagging the residential properties, they I and every homeowner are paying a disproportionate amount of taxes, as the commercial properties are paying less. The town uses full market value and was assessing every year, but that seemed to much for residents, yet doing it that way is the most accurate way. So now the assessments are behind. As stated earlier ...more
By North Sea Citizen (451), North Sea on Aug 24, 16 6:35 AM
The Town always needs the money. How about give back the CPF? You have people that have now clue on making a dollar outside of government driving people out. Look at Hampton Bays? If the diner was such a "steal" wouldn't someone be interested? The old CPI is a joke, Tiderunners and that development stalled. Instead of welcoming business, jobs and activity, the Town does whatever it can to stop it.
By The Real World (322), southampton on Aug 24, 16 9:31 AM
How about instead of $5 million for Tuckahoe we ask for $50 million and use that money for a tax holiday for commercial property taxes.
By dfree (316), hampton bays on Aug 25, 16 4:20 PM
Commercial property should be taxed at the same rate as residnetial property based on land value and building value. Basing taxes on income is what the fed and state do.

By auntof9 (109), Southampton on Aug 26, 16 10:23 AM
So get $50 million from the rich folk at the golf course and $150 Millon from the developers of the Quogue golf course and give everyone a tax holiday.
By dfree (316), hampton bays on Aug 26, 16 11:08 AM
The problem with these morons is not that they don't collect enough taxes, it's that they spend it like they are hillary bundlers. The rental increases are passed onto the tenants which is why only real estate agencies and banks can afford them.
By SlimeAlive (627), Southampton on Aug 28, 16 6:24 PM
a big problem is that the golf courses have an old exempt situation which of course does not bring in the revenues needed by the town and especially the school districts involved. just make the playing field fair. bring theses long overdue assessments in and the money will be rolling in; STOP!!!!! the more money the town gets more money is spent!!! such is the life of the american dream of home ownership!! Life (taxes), home ownership taxes), death (taxes) we can't win nor can we try to ...more
By xtiego (602), bridgehampton on Aug 29, 16 7:28 PM
Why are golf courses exempt? Change the law and make the rich old coots pay.
By dfree (316), hampton bays on Aug 29, 16 9:11 PM
Sparkling Pools, Hot Tubs, repairs, construction, new, used