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Jan 12, 2011 10:31 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association Calls For Equalization Rate

Jan 12, 2011 10:31 AM

Flanders and Riverside residents expressed their anger and frustration to Southampton Town Receiver of Taxes Theresa A. Kiernan on Monday night about a 22.3 percent jump in the property tax rate, announced last month, for Southampton Town residents who live in the Riverhead School District.

Ms. Kiernan, who attended the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association meeting, was on hand to field questions about the new tax rates, the result of a snafu in calculating the rates for the Riverhead School District.

In December, Riverhead School Superintendent Nancy Carney announced that there were errors in the tentative tax information that was forwarded to Southampton Town on November 10. This information was used to determine the tax rate. The information included mistakes in the percentage of the assessed properties in the district.

In addition, the district provided an inaccurate tax levy—the amount of money a school district collects from taxpayers to operate during a given year. The Riverhead School District has a $108 million school budget for the current academic year.

For residents in Southampton Town and within the Riverhead School District, the foul-up means that they will pay more than they expected in property taxes this year. Residents will pay $12.35 per $1,000 of assessed valuation of their home, as opposed to the $11.42 per $1,000 of assessed valuation that Ms. Kiernan had told residents they should have expected to pay. This year, Southampton Town taxpayers paid $10.10 per $1,000.

Brad Bender, president of the community group, said he has encountered frustration from his neighbors over the new rate, as well as the fact that Riverhead Town has not reassessed its properties since 1978, thus leading to higher tax rates in the Southampton Town portion of the district. Southampton Town reassesses its properties annually.

Ms. Kiernan said that legislation introduced by State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. aims to create a special and individualized equalization rate for districts that cross town lines, like the Riverhead School District.

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Does this "Receiver of Taxes Theresa A. Kiernan" know what she's doing or not? What's going on here?
By clam pie (161), Westhampton on Jan 16, 11 4:51 PM
Thank you for asking - indeed I do know what I am doing. I realize that the story is not completely clear, but the problems that were encountered had only to do with the School District. They submitted a tax levy document to the town on Nov. 10, and then retracted it on Nov. 30 saying the figures were incorrect. The School District then submitted a new document on Dec. 1, reflecting significantly higher numbers than the original submission.
By Theresa Kiernan (26), Southampton on Jan 20, 11 10:59 PM