City, County, and State government are all considering reduced penalties for late payment of taxes in light of the COVID-related economic crisis. But whatever short-term changes are made regarding property tax payments, it’s a good time to reflect on whether our tax system is fair, no matter when we pay our bills.
It’s the rare Rye homeowner who doesn’t see her property tax bill as too high. And there’s no doubt those bills can be stratospheric; Westchester property taxes are among the highest in the U.S. and there are some Rye residents who pay bills north of $100,000 annually. But even modest homes on small lots in Rye can face daunting tax bills — not just because of the cost of local schools and services but because of the madness of our property assessment system. Specifically, we have not reassessed based on actual market value since 1971. Instead, a crazy-quilt system managed by State government distorts our tax bills—leading to some being too high, others too low.
It’s time for Rye to follow the example of other Westchester communities, including Scarsdale and Mamaroneck, in a city-wide property reassessment, pegging values to what the current (down) market tells us homes are actually worth.
Photo by Doug Kerr via Flickr