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May 6, 2019 5:26 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Supervisor Announces Plan To Freeze Tax Assessments For Two Years To Study Process

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman
May 7, 2019 9:59 AM

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman will propose a two-year freeze on property assessments to give a new committee of “experts” a chance to review the town’s policy of adjusting the values annually in response to market trends.

His proposed legislation, to be introduced next week, comes on the heels of a 10-percent jump in the town’s overall assessed value this year. Notices recently went out to owners of nearly 34,000 of the town’s 52,000 parcels announcing increases in assessments—meaning almost two-thirds of property owners saw their property value rise for taxation purposes.

On Monday, Mr. Schneiderman noted that his legislation—which will be co-sponsored, he said, by all five Town Board members—comes after he’s heard of individual property owners seeing increases this year of up to 50 percent in their assessed property value. “A lot of those people are retired people,” he added.

An increase in an individual property’s assessment does not guarantee a comparable rise in the tax bill—or possibly any increase at all. When the town-wide assessment rises, tax rates are generally adjusted down to balance out the impact. But significant increases can mean higher tax bills.

“We don’t want to force them to have to sell their homes,” he said on Monday.

Southampton is one of only two towns on Long Island that uses a system of full valuation to determine each property’s percentage of the total tax collection. The town, in 2004, after a sweeping town-wide reassessment, began conducting ongoing updates to property values each year. 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. In between, market trends are used to make smaller adjustments: As comparable properties nearby sell, the value of a house can rise or fall based on those transactions.

The current tax year is one that involved a full reassessment, and rising property values sent the tax base up by 10 percent, after rising 5 percent last year via trend analysis.

Mr. Schneiderman wants the temporary freeze on property values to study whether Southampton Town should consider changes to its system, which adjusts property value not just based on improvements but also on changes in the local real estate market, “so you don’t have the broad unpredictability.”

He noted that a homeowner who makes no changes to a property for decades can still see the house’s assessed value steadily climb as the surrounding neighborhood becomes more desirable, including for vacation and part-time home buyers.

As an extreme example, he suggested a tiny fisherman’s cottage on a bayfront property, where a bayman has lived for more than 40 years. “The value of the land under that shanty, under that shack, is going through the roof,” he said—and the tax bill follows. “I don’t want you to get reassessed just because your neighbor’s property gets more valuable.”

The town’s assessment is used to set tax bills with lines for various taxing authorities other than the town: primarily school districts, but also fire departments, ambulances and other special districts.

If the board follows through with the proposal, the resolution would not affect 2019 tax bills but would start the freeze with the next assessment cycle, which begins shortly. Improvements to a property would still impact assessments during the freeze. And while the assessments could not rise, a property’s owner who believes its value has fallen still can file a grievance that can reduce the value. “We won’t have the ability to increase them,” Mr. Schneiderman said. “We would lock ourselves out—but we would not lock the public out.”

In a press release on Monday, Southampton Town Board member John Bouvier backed the proposal: “I think it is clear that our assessment procedures need to be re-evaluated. Our current system assesses taxes based on a 100 percent market rate valuation that creates an undue burden on some residents as a result. I welcome this review.”

The committee to study the application of market trend analysis, and the use of 100 percent full valuation for tax purposes, would include the supervisor, the tax assessor, comptroller, town attorney, a representative from the real estate community, and a real property appraisal expert. It would have until the end of 2020 to deliver its recommendations.

On Monday, Mr. Schneiderman said the committee also will look at mechanisms that might protect those with low or fixed incomes in particular.

The resolution will be introduced at the next regular Town Board meeting on Tuesday, May 14, at 1 p.m.

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So assessment goes up 10% this year and then there's a freeze? That's great since prices and sales volume dropping fast now because of property tax deduction limit.
By dfree (818), hampton bays on May 6, 19 5:39 PM
Let's raise property taxes, price out local homeowners, then use the taxes to build affordable housing after hiring expensive Town admins to create this scheme. And then let's give that affordable housing away in a lottery.

Or we can just lower taxes and force SUNY Southampton Hospital network to provide affordable healthcare to local Town police, admin, teachers, janitors, water, fire, trustees, road crews not to mention their own nurses and staff. And that will decrease school and Town ...more
By dfree (818), hampton bays on May 6, 19 5:45 PM
1 member liked this comment
We all have our historic gripes, but this is a good idea.
By CPalmer (122), Southampton on May 6, 19 6:12 PM
It appears that the Supervisor and his fellow Democrats listened to my husband, GREG ROBINS, REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE FOR SUPERVISOR at the town board meeting on Tuesday April 30, 2019. He addressed the board on their lack of concern for the taxpayer and their back door approach to raising taxes through reassessments. Why did the reporters fail to mention his three minutes of public comment?

By LindaRobins (2), on May 6, 19 7:06 PM
1 member liked this comment
I don't think you should be so proud of your husband's suggestion, as a Republican, how can you be proud of freezing assessments when they are at an all-time high? How does this freeze help the taxpayers that have seen their assessments go up so much? Better re-think your strategy if you want him to have a chance of getting elected.
By HamptonDad (236), Hampton Bays on May 6, 19 9:30 PM
1 member liked this comment
I made no suggestions, I only informed the board of the public's anger, and asked for truth in taxing. Greg Robins
By LindaRobins (2), on May 9, 19 10:58 PM
Here in North Sea we were re-assessed 2 years ago then again a few weeks ago!! Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is up with that?
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on May 6, 19 8:03 PM
1 member liked this comment
I had my house on the market for 2 years for $300000 less than the assessment and couldn't sell it. I argued with the assessor and they said sales price has nothing to do with assessment. What the hell are they talking about?
By chief1 (2800), southampton on May 6, 19 10:04 PM
First of all, the taxpayers need a moratorium on TAX INCREASES from the Town and School Districts. THAT is what makes people sell their houses not the change in the assessed valuation. Supervisor Schneiderman seems to conflate the two whether purposely or not since he has raised taxes more than $7 million since he has been in office. However, the HB CAC raised the issue that the assessment process does not result in fair and equitable valuations after Lisa Goree attended the March CAC meeting. ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on May 6, 19 10:18 PM
1 member liked this comment
In Tuckahoe 75% of my tax bill goes to that sanctuary school.
By zeke (40), southampton on May 7, 19 6:12 AM
Amazing how the supervisor knows better than the actual real estate market. The assessor simply keeps assessments at 100% in conjunction with the market. Some areas increase, decrease or stay the same. Also, these neighborhoods do not change at the same rate. See what happened to Nassau County and get back to me. Freezing assessments in such a diverse market like the Hamptons will cause lower income areas to compensate for higher income areas. You want people to pay their fair share? Than keep ...more
By dhehyo (11), Southampton on May 7, 19 6:28 AM
The only thing that a change in the valuation methodology does is to change the way the pie is sliced. The pie is the total taxes from the Town is sliced by the entire Town and the Schools, Library and Special Districts that are sliced by just the taxpayers in the Districts. While some changes may be needed to fix the way the pie is sliced, the actual issue that the actual PIE of unsustainable budgets from the Town and Schools. Supervisor Schneiderman has raised taxes by more than $7 million ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on May 7, 19 7:21 AM
2 members liked this comment
How about merging the dozen school districts in the Town and reduce the highest part of the tax bill. It will never happen, too many power hungry people. But, a Town School Board, with a single set of administration and buying power would greatly help in costs. Teachers and administrators would never go for it..to scared .
By The Real World (368), southampton on May 7, 19 7:36 AM
2 members liked this comment
Great idea. While you're at it why not have the Town petition the federal government to redraw state boundaries - thirteen was good enough when the nation was founded. I'm not saying it should go back to the original thirteen but allow a small increase to eighteen or twenty which should save us all some money.

Your educators failed you, we understand that, it is clear in your writing here but it's no reason to blow up the system.

As far as Schneiderman's proposal - we need better ...more
By VOS (1241), WHB on May 7, 19 6:26 PM
Reduce the school administration heads by merging districts to spread the cost equally among the towns and harness the purchasing power. Educators fail everyone when they abuse children and do what they do to milk the system. How many Superintendents do we need to fail but walk away with crazy money? Over paid leadership of school districts are a disgrace and must be liable! School boards have no guts as they are puppets of the superintendent.
By Hamptonsway (107), Southampton on May 8, 19 9:15 PM
Throw Southampton Supervisor Jay Schneiderman out of Town before he throws us all out of Our Town.
By themarlinspike (542), Northern Hemisphere on May 7, 19 8:26 AM
The Democratic Party has ruined all chances for retired people to live here, young generations and middle class people. It’s disgusting what this party has done to the Town of Southampton and anyone associated with them should re consider the up coming election. The party has absolutely destroyed everything for all people except the rich. Good job dems you are some class acts. Let me go vomit now.
By watchoutnow968 (56), Southampton on May 7, 19 8:43 AM
This administration has the most institutional corrupt processes I have ever seen. It is like you go to the doctor with a pain in your foot and you come out with your arm in a bandage. High 6 figure salaries with benefits at the top level and they can't seem to address the real problems. Yes, the assessment process needs some fixing, but it is not going to fix the unsustainable municipal and school budgets that are putting people out of their homes.
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on May 7, 19 9:50 AM
1 member liked this comment
Living in a desirable area is democrats fault? Thanks for your insight.
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on May 7, 19 9:37 AM
2 members liked this comment
No, but giving ludicrous salaries and benefits the unions that run campaigns for them, and the resulting higher taxes is. And of course, there are the skyrocketing school taxes foisted on middle class families to educate thousands of foreign students thanks to your support for open borders, encouraging and welcoming illegal immigrants. But hey, who cares if a family in Hamptons Bays or Flanders has to pay $12,000 in taxes on a $300,000 house, as long as you have access to cheap landscaping and maid ...more
By NateNewtown (99), east on May 7, 19 10:12 AM
How is it that people who arrived here with nothing but a shirt on their backs can afford to carve out a living and prosper, but you can't?

Perhaps it's time to tighten your belt or seek greener pastures altogether.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on May 7, 19 10:45 AM
2 members liked this comment
I'm not sure that any $300,000 houses exist in SH town...maybe a handful but not many
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (747), southampton on May 7, 19 10:52 AM
Nate, you’d make a great comedy writer. First let me make four points. One, I don’t advocate open borders.second , I mow my own lawn, paint my own house and do everything myself. Third, I don’t have a maid service, that would definitely make my wife laugh. Lastly, why move to an area with such high property taxes? Move down south, from your prior posts, you’d fit right in. Maid service, hahahahahha. You are funny.
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on May 7, 19 10:55 AM
FB and Fred S., I have heard the comments above over and over again trying to demonize anyone that doesn't want to be "taxed" out of their homes - - move or get a 2nd job or tighten your belt. The property owners in HB pay one of the highest if not the hugest tax rate in the Town even though only approximately 20% of the owners have children in the school district. More than 1/2 of the children are eligible for free breakfast and lunch and are coming from rental units. Many HB taxpayers are at ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on May 7, 19 4:53 PM
G.A. , I realize Hampton Bays has high property taxes. Read my comment, it wasn’t directed at all residents of Hampton Bays, just Nate. I’m not rich, far far from it. I live within my means, he was making derogatory comments. I understand your concerns. We are lucky in Southampton to have estate sections, if we didn’t , we would be in the same boat.Blaming “Democrat’s “ for his problems is just patently false.That was my point.
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on May 7, 19 5:13 PM
Thank you for the clarity, but I have heard all of the YIMYY (Yes, in YOUR backyard) arguments for years. Look at the recent article about the opposition in Wainscott for the affordable housing complex. Tail of two Hamptons. I also live at or below my means, but I should not be "taxed" out of my house because I am "middle class" and live in a middle income community. Frankly, I am sick and tired of Hampton Bays taxpayers being demonized with 1/2 truths and facts when they stand up for themselves.
May 7, 19 5:41 PM appended by G.A.Lombardi
should be yiyby (yes in your backyard)
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on May 7, 19 5:41 PM
Simple, Nate and others are going broke paying taxes and paying more than their fare share to make up for those who lie, cheat and steal to get free.
By Hamptonsway (107), Southampton on May 9, 19 10:55 PM
Little late, Mr. Supervisor. Assessments are being done on sales only now. The courts ruled against that years ago, if memory serves. If a newly built house sells for $1 million, the house next door (older & falling apart) should NEVER be increased based on that sale - especially in the Hamptons when citidiots will pay any price for what they want. While sales play a SMALL part of an assessment, the condition of the house, easements, wetlands, location (such as on a major highway) and a correct ...more
By NoName27 (16), Southampton on May 7, 19 10:56 AM
Really Jay???
Do you think we are stupid?
Last week you were touting the 10% increase in assessment-and after you opponent-GREG ROBINS called you out- you have shifted gears and propose freezing assessment.
It just shows you are the carpetbagger everyone thinks you are.
Go back to East Hampton-where you really live.
By VMC (7), Hamtpon Bays on May 7, 19 8:08 PM
And for the record-his name is GREG ROBINS folks. Jay has trouble pronouncing it!
By VMC (7), Hamtpon Bays on May 7, 19 8:11 PM
Hampton Bays has the highest tax rate in the town of Southampton but has the second lowest average income. How does this square with a progressive administration, tax the working class and help the rich. Thanks to an influx of immigrants and lack of code enforcement the HB schools districts has become overwhelmed and very expensive to operate. Town seems to be ok with this outrage as long the wealthy villages are exempt from housing the workers they need to operate.

By HB salvation (27), Hampton bays on May 7, 19 9:06 PM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By dfree (818), hampton bays on May 8, 19 6:38 AM
1 member liked this comment
The biggest point missing here is why are they raising tax money? They are raising tax money based on budgets. How many people who complain about their taxes actually go to town board meetings which represent all the departments under the towns domain, school board meetings etc. the tax bill is made up of many taxing districts, ambulance, police, who ever went to a fire department budget meeting? What about Suffolk County?? Its all on your tax bill. That's the first step. Cant make the meeting write ...more
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on May 8, 19 2:15 PM
North Sea, I did go to the public hearing for the Town Budget and 4 of the 5 Board members ignored the fact that since Jay has been in office he increased the taxpayer's portion of the budget by $7 million. It is disgraceful that he than says "he has never raised taxes" on his robocall for Comptroller. The lines between the truth and lies are very blurry with this administration.
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on May 8, 19 2:36 PM
Go to the Southampton Schools websites and count the number of administrators. These positions have been boosted up to the admin level over the past years. What are the salaries for 13 Administrators? Do neighboring districts have 13 Administrators for a similar number of graduates?
By Red Flag (51), Southampton on May 8, 19 10:00 PM
A freeze sounds like a good idea. We should all thank Jay for his fresh approach to look for new solutions. And not to continue with the same ideas, same programs, etc because it is tradition. Times have changed and we must examine new methods, etc. Thank you Jay!
By Red Flag (51), Southampton on May 8, 19 10:02 PM
RF, I agree that the methodology needs to be revised, but I find it ironic that Jay DENIED he could do anything about it at the April 2019 HB CAC meeting and then after some other, maybe his opponent, brought it up, all of a sudden this his initiative. Jay has been in government for almost 20 years and yet he still hasn't mastered running a government entity.
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on May 9, 19 7:05 AM
And what amazing new method do you suggest that would be better than assessing at 100% market value? According to the data provided by the Assessor their values are 99% accurate. We all hate taxes and want to pay less, but that is up to budgets/tax rates. Manipulating assessments is predicting future markets and trends. Good luck with that.
By dhehyo (11), Southampton on May 9, 19 10:38 AM
dh, the specific issues raised related to (1) those properties with accessory apartments are not taxes "as if" 2-family houses and only valued for additional living space (2) the sales data is extrapolated to properties outside of the immediate area (3) sales data is extrapolated to properties will no real understanding of the condition of the property i.e. starter/stock finishes or high end finishes.
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on May 9, 19 10:20 PM
GA, Point 1) is an extremely small portion of residential properties. 2) That is incorrect. Sales data is extrapolated "within" the immediate area, which pertains to the immediate neighborhood impacted by the sale. There are, as you know, exceptions in which trending is a necessary tool in following the market. However, the Assessments seem to be on the conservative side when raising assessments based on only trends. This is why a property could jump up in one year instead of gradually climbing ...more
By dhehyo (11), Southampton on May 10, 19 10:01 AM
"First of all, the taxpayers need a moratorium on TAX INCREASES from the Town and School Districts."

GA: How do you propose to lower taxes due to local school district budgets? I won't mention the Hampton Bays Scool District Superintendent's name, but let's be aware of who prepares school budgets, who approves them for an annual vote, and who votes for them.
By dfree (818), hampton bays on May 9, 19 1:28 PM
dfree, First of all, I believe that there are 6000 registered voters in the school district and I would LOVE to see all 6000 vote notwithstanding how they vote. The apathy is very discouraging. Yo have pointed out repeatedly the issues with the unsustainable budgets. Until there is systemic change (more than just a "cap"), it will continue to cripple middle class communities. I think many are at the tipping point, not just HB. The cap was instituted after years of double digit increases. The ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on May 9, 19 3:01 PM
I agree with all your financial points regarding unsustainable budget growth but disagree with your solution. Albany will not solve our local school budget problem and even Governor Cuomo has recently laughed publicly at Long Island's $300,000+ superintendent salaries. Until local voters stand up and vote no on school budgets nothing will change except the size of an ever increasing property tax bill.

Also, I would like to point out that in many government and non profit organizations, ...more
By dfree (818), hampton bays on May 9, 19 4:41 PM
G.A. , have you considered running for either Town Board or Supervisor? Your common sense, fact based points made here make more sense than any offered by of our elected officials! It would be refreshing for someone with financial acumen to represent the taxpayers of Southampton Town.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on May 13, 19 5:40 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on May 9, 19 5:27 PM
North Sea Citizen wrote, "They are raising tax money based on budgets. How many people who complain about their taxes actually go to town board meetings which represent all the departments under the towns domain, school board meetings etc. the tax bill is made up of many taxing districts, ambulance, police, who ever went to a fire department budget meeting? What about Suffolk County?? Its all on your tax bill."

I've looked at my bill and the largest budget is the damn school. Heck, I depend ...more
By pigroast (100), East Quogue on May 12, 19 11:42 PM
East Quogue? Then get your neighbors to join with you in voting "no" and also to vote in a new school board. In EQ you can probably do that with a 100 like minded voters to swing an election.
However, the elections are held not on the regular election day and not in all the polling places that an election day has so you need to be around on that important school budget/school board votes -- make your vote count and maybe you can stop the insane $40,000+ per year per student that you're paying ...more
By dfree (818), hampton bays on May 13, 19 4:27 PM