The Scarsdale school board recently approved a tax certiorari settlement that provides the Quaker Ridge Golf Club on Griffen Avenue a $519,698 refund for the 2007 through 2012 assessment years.
The school district was aware of the potential for a tax certiorari case with the Quaker Ridge Golf Club, according to a Dec. 20, 2013 memo from Linda Purvis, assistant superintendent for business and facilities, and Jeffrey Martin, treasurer/business manager, to Superintendent Michael McGill. But the estimates were “significantly inadequate” largely due to a change in the capitalization formula for calculating assessments specifically related to golf courses, they wrote.
Certiorari claims, in which property taxpayers protest the amount of their assessments, are litigated by the village, which separately refunds its own portion. The Scarsdale school district’s refund obligation is four times that of the village, according to the memo. The school district had reserved $136,838 for a potential settlement between the 2007 and 2011 assessment years, which was short $445,235 for those years.
“We continue to monitor our payments as compared to our reserve estimates and will update the reserve estimates accordingly for other related properties,” the memo said.
Tax certiorari claims can be filed by individual property owners and businesses, but municipalities and school districts take the largest hits from companies that are successful in protesting their assessments. They often file lawsuits year after year, and refunds for over-assessments can be millions of dollars. School funding accounts for about two-thirds of the total property-tax bill in the region, meaning they are faced with much higher settlement bills.
Settlements are higher than they would have been if there were current property assessments in Westchester County. The payouts should decrease after Scarsdale completes its reassessment, according to the school district’s December 2013 financial report.
“However, until this process is completed and a time is allowed for the appeals process to take place for grievances as a result of the Reassessment itself, we may have an interim period of claims and refunds that will not be predictable using any current model,” the report said.
(Journal News file photo of the Quaker Ridge Golf Club.)