After reading the Sept.20 Tax Watch story, Anne Elton of Haverstraw had a good look at her own school tax bill and realized that she’s got a 19 percent tax hike.
The Sept. 20 article spelled out what happened to Edmund Lynch, a Garnerville homeowner who thought his 2013-14 school tax went up by 23 percent, or $919.
In Lynch’s bill, his home’s assessment for 2013 was the same with the year before, while many of other Haverstraw town homeowners got a 7 to 10 percent reduction. Haverstraw town assessor has been tweaking the town’s assessment roll because Haverstraw’s 2006 revaluation was done at the height of the housing boom.
After contacted by The Journal News, the town admitted that Lynch’s assessment should’ve been reduced like everybody else’s and corrected the mistake. Lynch’s actual tax increase was $59.
Unfortunately, Elton was not that lucky, and here’s why.
Elton, 53, successfully fought her 2012 assessment of her Haverstraw townhouse and got a $22,000 reduction. Although she had to pay about 50 percent of tax refund to the firm she hired, she was satisfied with the firm’s service that time, she said.
Like Lynch, Elton’s 2013-14 school tax bill showed that she didn’t get any assessment reduction for 2013, but in her case, it was not a mistake.
After a successful assessment grievance, state law requires municipalities not to change the assessment in the following year. The law is meant to protect property owners who successfully fought their assessment, but it worked against her because Haverstraw town reduced assessments for many homes.
Elton said she had to pay $4,111.99 to the North Rockland school district, up $656.96, or by 19 percent, from last year.
Elton, a physical therapist, moved to her townhouse to downsize from her four-bedroom house in Garnerville. Because her property taxes on her townhouse is rising so fast, it’s affecting her retirement plan, she said.