Van Buren residents can continue to expect annual assessments.
Van Buren officials recently approved the adoption of a six-year plan for the assessor's office. According to Assessor Theresa Golden, the plan is basically a continuation of the current plan and each property will be re-assessed at least once during the six-year period.
Although towns are not held to the standard, real property tax law requires all properties within a municipality to be assessed at a uniform percentage of market value each year. In other words, a house assessed at $100,000 should be worth $100,000. As an incentive to keep property values at 100 percent, the state offers aid that Supervisor Mary Crego said is worth $156,000 in revenue to Van Buren. In order to qualify for state aid, Van Buren must keep assessments between 95 and 100 percent of market value.
Although difficult to understand, another benefit of annual assessments is taxes are collected equally from all residents. If Van Buren were to stop performing assessments, property values would not be correct on the tax roll. Therefore, the amount of property tax owed would not be up to date. In non-assessed towns, this creates an unfair tax burden on homes built recently compared with homes built years ago. Golden also said Van Buren is at an all time high for property values.
"If we stop (assessing) now, in two to three years, there will be parts of Van Buren that will be over assessed," she said.
Golden added that Van Buren is better served by conducting annual assessments since the town shares a school district with the town of Lysander, which also conducts annual assessments. The reason is that in towns that share a school district, if one town is annually assessed while another is not, it can increase the amount of school taxes a non-assessed town is responsible for because the non-assessed town has an inflated market value.
Golden concluded by saying that conducting annual assessments doesn't mean property taxes will increase.
"Just because assessments went up, doesn't mean taxes will go up at the same rate," Golden said.
Crego added, "It's all a function of the budgets, not a function of the value of properties. There's a fair distribution."
For more information about assessments, visit the NYS Office of Real Property Services web site at orps.state.ny.us.