The new assessments came out yesterday. They weren’t mailed to property owners but were made available at City Hall. (Rumor has it that they will not be mailed until a week before grievance day [May 25], but that may be just rumor.) We’d heard that a “re-val” was underway, but no one knew what to expect. By afternoon, home owners on Allen and Union streets who were aware of their new assessments were either in shock or mad as hell. First reports made it seem that only Union and Allen streets had been reassessed, and a cursory check of the assessment book seemed to confirm that notion. Across the board, the assessments on properties on these streets seemed to have more than doubled--at a time when property values are depressed everywhere. The “full market value” assigned to my house, for example, is more than I could have sold it for in my wildest dreams at the height of the post-9/11 real estate boom!
Since yesterday more information has been received. According to City Assessor Garth Slocum, all the properties in Hudson were “looked at,” and the assessments changed for 90 percent of them. The assessments on only 230 properties remained the same. Of the 90 percent that changed, some saw increases, some decreases. The neighborhoods off Harry Howard--out by Montgomery C. Smith and the Firemen's Home--saw their assessments go down, because, according to Slocum, “houses there are selling for only between $170,000 and $190,000.” Most properties on the south side of town saw staggering increases, because some houses here have sold for tidy sums in the past year. Overall, the total taxable value of all the property in the city has increased 31 percent--cold comfort for those of us with property whose taxable value has increased more than 100 percent.
According to the New York State Association of Realtors, the median selling price for a house in Columbia County is currently $225,000. According to the “full market values” assigned to some of the houses in my neighborhood, $225,000 is barely enough to buy an aluminum-sided fixer-upper.