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Apr 17, 2019 9:48 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Property Assessments Go Up 10 Percent, Doubling The Recent Rate

Southampton Town Board members met with Sole Tax Assessor Lisa Goree during a work session on April 11. GREG WEHNER
Apr 17, 2019 10:04 AM

The overall tax assessment in Southampton Town is up sharply in 2019, by 10 percent, about double the pace of the last two years, reflecting a continuing rise in the value of properties throughout the town.

As tax assessment notices are being prepared to be sent out to nearly 30,000 homeowners this week, town officials are reminding residents that a 10 percent increase in the value of all of the town’s properties does not necessarily mean that an individual’s property tax bill will go up accordingly.

With officials anticipating some confusion, the letters are being sent nearly two weeks earlier than usual, giving property owners more time than in past years to decide if they want to file grievances challenging their individual tax assessments.

“People automatically think if they get a letter that their property value went up, that means their taxes are going up,” Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said at a Town Board work session on April 11. “That isn’t necessarily true. It really depends on the tax rate. If the tax rate goes down enough to offset the increase in property value, you won’t see an increase in taxes. You might even see a decrease in taxes.

“Over the last two years, we have, every year, lowered the tax rate. At the same time, we have seen the property values across the town increase,” he added.

Every four years the town conducts a full reassessment of the 52 neighborhoods in the town to ensure that every property is assessed based on its true market value.

During the years when a full valuation is not conducted, Sole Assessor Lisa Goree said, the assessments are based on market trends. If an area sees a 10 percent upward trend in sales, the home assessments in that neighborhood will increase by 10 percent as well.

Ms. Goree said on Tuesday that the overall taxable value of property in the town is going up 10 percent this year, compared to about 5 percent in both 2017 and 2018.

She noted that the amount of money levied through taxes cannot go up more than 2 percent under the state’s property tax levy cap, so the tax rate will be adjusted to meet the cap’s restrictions.

As far as individual property taxes, she noted, taxes on a third of the properties are expected to go up, a third will go down, and the final third will stay the same.

“It kind of keeps everyone uniform,” Ms. Goree said. “That’s one of the reasons for doing a reassessment. Everyone is uniform, everyone is paying their fair share. It just creates uniformity.”

Ms. Goree said some areas and property classifications went up more than others, because land assessments for waterfront properties were low this time around. Because the assessments came in low, Ms. Goree and her department made adjustments so that waterfront properties would see a bigger increase than others.

Ultimately, though, the assessments were based on an increasing number of sales taking place that were higher than the previously assessed value.

“It’s not like we said, ‘Let’s give all the waterfront properties this percentage of increase and only increase the other properties by this,’” she said. “It still has to be supported by sales.”

Ms. Goree met with Town Board members during a work session on April 11 and compared residential assessments of single-family homes in Flanders and Water Mill. Out of 64 homes that sold in Flanders, the ratio of sales value compared to the assessed value was nearly 84 percent, meaning the homes were assessed lower than what they actually were selling for.

The reason homes were assessed lower, Ms. Goree said, was because Flanders has seen its share of issues—the market decreased in 2012, and then Superstorm Sandy devastated the area later that year.

“Now, they’re bouncing back,” Ms. Goree said, suggesting the increase in sales is a good thing.

Sales trends in Water Mill also suggest homes are being assessed lower than what they are selling for, but not by as much. Out of 72 sales, the ratio of sales value to assessed value was 93 percent. When homes sell for more than what they are assessed, the town increases the assessed value of properties in that neighborhood.

Mr. Schneiderman asked, if a person purchased a $50 million to $60 million home on the waterfront, whether that would impact the rest of the town, and Ms. Goree said one sale does not drive the market. But when multiple homes in a neighborhood sell for a much higher value than that of the rest of the homes in the neighborhood, a trend forms and the assessments go up for everyone else.

In Flanders, Ms. Goree said, some assessments may increase by between $10,000 and $30,000, depending on where a person lives. In 2018, the tax rate in the town was $1.389 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. If they live close to the water, the assessment will be on the higher end, because their homes may carry a higher value.

“Because we were able to put that amount of added value on the rolls this year, it gives an opportunity for the school districts and the other municipalities to decrease the tax rate so that the residents aren’t hit with increasing taxes,” Ms. Goree said.

Grievance day is Tuesday, May 21, so taxpayers are being given nearly a month to meet with Ms. Goree and her staff, or file a grievance, whether in person or online. “They can give my office a call, and we’ll be happy to go over it with them,” she said.

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This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By even flow (817), East Hampton on Apr 17, 19 3:36 PM
1 member liked this comment
No matter what , the Town spends more each year, assessed value be damned.
By bigfresh (4306), north sea on Apr 17, 19 4:02 PM
2 members liked this comment
What happened to being so happy and proud your home increased in value?

Tsk, tsk...
By Mr. Z (11266), North Sea on Apr 17, 19 10:07 PM
The town saying my home value went up doesn't mean my resale value went up.
By bb (878), Hampton Bays on Apr 26, 19 8:37 PM
Remember them in November!
By V.Tomanoku (726), southampton on Apr 17, 19 5:18 PM
2 members liked this comment
Great just what I need like a hole in the head. So now not only will we see an in crease in assessment but i live in ESM school district that wants to pierce the tax cap and has Another Superintendant on paid andminstrative leave making over $200k. Double stab in the back. Tiime to really consider moving out of New York Fed up with taxes .
By lifesaver (117), speonk on Apr 17, 19 5:18 PM
1 member liked this comment
never ends with these bloodsuckers we'll all be moving out before long
By xtiego (696), bridgehampton on Apr 17, 19 6:42 PM
1 member liked this comment
I can't wait for the "fake narratives" from the schools and town. They will conflate the fact that taxes are going up with the fact that the "tax rate" (increase in taxes over the increase in assessed value) is going down. The Increase in assessed value (market value) doesn't matter unless you are selling your house...and they are literally putting people out of their homes with the unsustainable administrative salaries and benefits. Then they say there is a shortage of "affordable housing" and ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (415), Hampton Bays on Apr 17, 19 8:45 PM
1 member liked this comment
How about the CPF pay taxes on all the property it buys.so this way they don’t have to keep having to raise our taxes. What happens the town buys up these properties using the CPF money but that money does not pay for upkeep of said property. so the the money for the upkeep of all these property’s comes from the parks and recreational fund. Regardless of what the town buys that property is no longer bringing in tax revenue
By tookatz (83), westhampton beach on Apr 17, 19 8:54 PM
The CPF seems to have become yet another political slush fund. I cannot believe it was extend to 2050, but the taxpayers/voters voted in favor of it. As Ed Koch said, "The people have spoken and now they will be punished". I believe 10% of the monies are supposed to be set aside for maintenance and I believe 10% is set aside for payments in lieu of taxes for certain school and library districts.
By G.A.Lombardi (415), Hampton Bays on Apr 17, 19 9:04 PM
Now that the Town is in the property development and flipping business, they need more money. The amount of waste and fiscal irresponsibility by our elected officials is staggering. Unlimited money, unlimited arrogance, unlimited amount of "pet" projects all at the taxpayers expense. And they wonder why there is no "affordable housing".
By The Real World (363), southampton on Apr 18, 19 9:20 AM
Real estate taxes in US are totally crazy!..in Europe they pay 10 times less for same home value...when I will hear in one year that the taxes went down?...Only if a war starts?
By dany (31), Water Mill on Apr 18, 19 11:08 AM
RE taxes on LI as compared to the rest of the nation are crazy. Much of it can be traced back to the Towns and Schools with top heavy salaries and benefits. I believe there are 13 school districts with their own administration in the Town of Southampton alone.when NYC has one chancellor. IMHO, that's crazy.
By G.A.Lombardi (415), Hampton Bays on Apr 18, 19 4:25 PM
2 members liked this comment
Ouch!
By mmazz (1), New York on Apr 18, 19 3:09 PM
My assessment increased ONLY 600%. Really 600%. Disgusted!
By cjs (6), southampton on May 1, 19 9:19 PM
bay street, sag harbor,