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Ossining, Briarcliff Announce Revaluation Support

OSSINING, N.Y. – It has been more than 40 years, and Town of Ossining Supervisor Susanne Donnelly thinks it is time for property value adjustments.

The Town of Ossining recently announced that it will be joining the City of Yonkers and the Town of Greenburgh to evaluate the costs of doing an assessment revaluation of their communities, according to a news release. Donnelly said the Town Board held discussions with the Village of Briarcliff Manor , the Village of Ossining and their respective school systems, and all agree that the time is right to look into revaluation.

Property revaluations are often opposed, Donnelly said, because the process typically increases one-third of taxpayers' bills, maintains one-third and slightly decreases the remaining third. It may be at least a year before the process begins, but Donnelly noted that the last revaluation came in 1972.

“Everybody is afraid of revaluations, but it’s time,” Donnelly said. “The market is at a level now that we can do it, and I think it’s important that everybody pays their fair share.”

Donnelly also saluted Greenburgh and Yonkers “for getting the ball rolling” and reaching similar support from Pleasantville, Peekskill, North Castle, New Castle and Bedford.

“We are the sixth community to join them, and I hope there will be more,” Donnelly said. “What we’re trying to do is get the biggest bang for our buck. We would all love to have all of Westchester to participate in this with us to help financially. I can’t speak to the costs, but it would be an expensive proposition to do.”

Donnelly also referred to the more than 500 residents and businesses who recently filed grievances with the Town of Ossining as a prime example for why revaluation is needed.

“We’ve spent so much money on grievances lately,” Donnelly said. “The ultimate advantage of all of this would be getting everyone fair and equitable taxation. There are going to be people opposing this, and it’s going to take time, and it’s going to be discussed for awhile before anything happens. This is the first step of many.”

Westchester County Board of Legislators Chairman Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers) said he welcomed the support of Ossining.

“I’m heartened by the news that the Town of Ossining is ready to examine the cost necessary for an assessment reevaluation,” Jenkins wrote in an e-mailed statement Monday. “The Westchester County Board of Legislators is ready to work with all of our municipal partners to develop an approach to help reduce unfair taxation and bad assessment practices. Our residents and business owners deserve greater transparency, equity and efficiency in the assessment process, and any improvements that offer significant savings for taxpayers should be considered.”

Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner and the Town Board announced intentions to look into the revaluation process in May, according to previous reports . Greenburgh officials said the hope was that doing the revaluation would help limit the millions of dollars that the town, and the school and fire districts, lose every year in tax certiorari refunds – reimbursements paid to property owners who challenged their assessments, according to the report.

“Doing this, it would stop the bleeding,” Feiner told The Daily Voice in May . “If Greenburgh and Yonkers do this, it would put the pressure on everyone else and would make it less of a political issue.”

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