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May 13, 2009 12:27 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton reassessments do not reflect economic downturn

May 13, 2009 12:27 PM

The drastic downturn in the economy and the drop in real estate values have not been reflected in this year’s tax assessments, according to Southampton Town Tax Assessor Ed Deyermond.

That’s because, Mr. Deyermond said, the assessments were calculated during a time period set by New York State, which ended on July 1, 2008, well before the economic nosedive.

Because of that, Mr. Deyermond said he is expecting a busy Grievance Day this Tuesday, May 19, as residents challenge the town’s figures based on what they see as the current value of their properties.

Grievances will be heard at St. Rosalie’s Catholic Church on Montauk Highway in Hampton Bays.

Although the pace of the 2009 assessment process is on par with last year’s, Mr. Deyermond said he is expecting a more intensive Grievance Day, when the town’s Assessment Review Board will determine on a case by case basis whether the town’s assessments are correct. After conducting its hearings, the board can decrease an assessment or keep it at the same level set by the town.

“As we get closer to Grievance Day, things are picking up,” Mr. Deyermond said. He added that the vast majority of taxpayer complaints are from homeowners who do not feel their assessed values match the current worth of their homes.

Mr. Deyermond said he understood those grievances, but said the 2009 evaluation period, from July 1, 2007, through July 1, 2008, is mandated by the state. “There’s nothing we can do about it,” Mr. Deyermond said. “We’d have to change state law, statewide. We have to operate under state dictates.”

According to state law, property values must be calculated based on real estate market conditions during that prescribed time period. “Assessments do not reflect current market value,” Mr. Deyermond emphasized.

Of the roughly 55,000 commercial and residential properties in the town, Mr. Deyermond said about 9,900, or 18 percent, would see an increase in their assessed value, 1,763, or 3 percent, would see a decrease, and the remaining 43,340, or 79 percent, would remain the same.

Mr. Deyermond said he did not have a breakdown of the assessed values of commercial versus residential properties.

Overall, the town saw an increase in the assessed value of all properties in the town from $52.8 billion to $54.6 billion. Mr. Deyermond noted, however, that the increase could change, pending the result of grievances and other alterations. A final assessment roll will be released on July 1, he said.

Some properties were assessed at higher levels because of additions and other new construction; others because of changes in market conditions. But, as Mr. Deyermond pointed out, those factors were for the state mandated evaluation period, which ended almost a year ago, not the current situations. According to the assessor, property values might increase because of additions or the construction of garages, pools, tennis courts or decks on the premises. Also, assessments are based on the value of properties in a given neighborhood, so increases or decreases to the value of surrounding properties, such as a new subdivision or land preservation, may alter the overall value of a given property.

On-site visits, reviews of building and site plans, sales analysis of corresponding properties and Graphical Information System tools, such as state-of-the-art aerial photography, are some of the methods Mr. Deyermond’s office uses to evaluate the value of properties.

This is the first year, however, Mr. Deyermond said, that his office has used pictometry, or aerial photographs, which, he said, is an invaluable tool in producing more accurate assessments. “A picture tells a thousand words,” Mr. Deyermond said. “It’s an excellent measuring tool.”

While this year’s assessment will not mirror the deflated real estate market, the 2010 assessment will; and that, Mr. Deyermond said, could have a significant impact on the town.

What concerns the assessor is the possibility that next year’s assessment will show a flattening of real estate values, or worse, a decrease. If that’s the case, then elected officials may be forced to increase taxes or cut spending.

According to Town Supervisor Linda Kabot, town property values have steadily increased over the last decade. “And over the last six years they went through the roof,” Ms. Kabot said. “But, if there’s no taxable increase and spending is still the same, then that’s a problem.”

Mr. Deyermond recently recommended that the Town Board put together a committee to study to the upcoming impacts of the 2010 assessments. “We need to address these declines for next year,” he said.

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2010 is a financial time bomb; owners will all expect a tax reduction based on the State's mandated measuring period; if it somehow doesn't happen I'd hate to be in Mr. Deyermond shoes!
By North of Highway (280), Westhampton Beach on May 13, 09 4:35 PM
As one of the lucky 9900, I was totally surprised to see the new increased assessment. Sure I was surprised to see the value increase in this economy with no imprpvements being made in my property or neighborhood. But what really surprised me was the total absence of any supporting data to justify a 15% increase in land value in this one year!
It was as if they picked a figure out of the air, how does one grieve against something so insubstantial?
By Watermillian (2), Water Mill on May 13, 09 5:33 PM
i'm paying taxes, what am i buying?

* Kabot's Klowns who can't even read their own financial books
* Schools that spend more $ per capita than anywhere else... with lame results
* Bloated police department with all kinds of shady characters
* Regulators who harrass merchants that dare to feed poor immigrants

Nice town.
By littleplains (305), olde england on May 14, 09 10:31 AM
Don't forget the $7k or so they spent on those signs to humiliate us drivers for about 1/4 mile before the Sunrise! You tell them, billboard pig!
By The Royal 'We' (199), Southampton on May 14, 09 10:59 AM
All residents should heed North of the Highway's words. 2010 will be the year of bankruptcy for the township. With properties in HB now selling for 15 to 25% below assessed value, when they do find a buyer,it's a economical given that the massive reduction in revenues slated for 2010 will be fatal.
By Father of 4 (4), Hampton Bays on May 14, 09 5:41 PM
Assessments will go down and the tax rate will go up and taxes will remain the same.
By Lefty46 (56), Westhampton on May 14, 09 10:16 PM
As one who increased, the amount of value they assess for living on a dirt unimproved road, does not reflect the decrease in value that occurrs on these roads. The Town of Southampton presently does not offer a discount for properties on an unimproved road when in fact they sell for less as the road is not paved, drained or maintained by the town in any way. Its taxation without representation. If you live on a dirt road in this town you are being overcharged and should grieve! I am. Its time the ...more
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on May 15, 09 7:00 AM
I'd prefer the tax rate go up - at least everyone will be equal. A friend of mine bought a house last year for $355,000. He was just reassessed at $850,000. His neighbors are at $400,000-450,000. His house is smaller. How unfair is that?!!
By Ms. Jane Q. Public (147), Southampton on May 15, 09 3:31 PM
Those horrible signs that The Royal We stated they paid $7,000 were really purchased by Suffolk County. Sunrise is (CR 39) a county road.
SC DPW purchased them in an effort to slow down traffic.
By MrRight (22), bridgehampton on May 16, 09 4:43 AM
Mr Right (who isn't) says:

Sunrise is (CR 39) a county road. The "Sunrise is SR 27, as in State Route 27. WHat is aka the North Road is CR39. i.e. County Road 39. The signs were paid for and put up by the County.
By Terry (380), Southampton on May 17, 09 3:33 PM
Downturn ? you mean there's a downturn ? you couldn't prove it by listening to town hall, we all face the pain while thier jobs and saleries are secure, wake up Southampton the polititions are laughing at you
By typical (63), southampton on May 17, 09 7:51 PM
kabots said " in the last six years values have gone thru the roof" property values. OK show me the money, were has all the money gone then, with "property values thru the roof"? Spending 32 million for 26 acres in red creek? or hwy superintdant getting a 25% raise in the last year? Look at montauk hwy clear out to east quoge what a mess. Show me the money ; thru the roof and right out the coffers to someone pocket.
By frmr 1203 hauler (6), HB on May 17, 09 8:42 PM
2010 is coming quick you better get your budget in line with less tax money.
By frmr 1203 hauler (6), HB on May 17, 09 8:45 PM
Mary-Lefty has retired from commenting 5/18/09
By Lefty46 (56), Westhampton on May 18, 09 6:03 AM
... I'm done , too. It's getting too nasty.
By William Rodney (561), southampton on May 18, 09 8:05 AM
frmr 1023 says:

hwy superintdant getting a 25% raise in the last year? Look at montauk hwy clear out to east quoge what a mess. Show me the money ;

The coment on salary is an out and out lie, and, Montauk Hwy is a County Road, maintained by the County, NOT the town.
By Terry (380), Southampton on May 18, 09 8:53 AM
They have been paving Montauk Hwy in Remsenburg and Westhampton the past 3 weeks and they are doing a great job.
By westhamptonboy (227), Westhampton on May 19, 09 5:38 PM