Thursday, May 6, 2010


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.


  1. "230 properties remained the same" - wonder if this number includes the many lawyer offices in this county seat - their assessments have NEVER changed - even when promised at assessment time, the reality is they stay the same.

  2. Anyone who wants to compare their 2009 assessment against the tentative 2010 assessment can call me at my office (828-3900) and I can provide the information.

    BTW, the tentative assessment on my two Warren Street buildings - including my law office, went through the roof! Guess I'm don't have "one of the many lawyer's offices" mentioned above by anonymous.

    Again, as I have in the past, I will be grieving and possibly litigating these assessments for my clients. The future of our city is at stake!

    Grievance Day is May 25th. You must file the appropriate form on or before that day to protect your rights.

    Brian Herman

  3. Late to the post, but would like to add...
    North side of town saw "staggering increases" as well... we live off of N. 5th and our assessment is up by over $100,000, nearly the same increase as last year, which we successfully fought off. I agree that "the future of our city is at stake" and would like any input on how to best continue the fight. I worry that simply allowing our lawyer to represent doesn't give a "face" to the family who lives in our home (us!) and that we are erroneously perceived, by virtue of being relative newcomers. By all means, we want to be a part of this community and pay our fair share, but I hear too much to think what goes on in Hudson is across-the-board fair when it comes to property taxes. I'm feeling the economic crunch, as many of us are these days, and the thought of paying almost twice as much property tax... ai, Dios mio...

  4. I was working on buying a fix-er-up-er next to my house - but not now! One over taxed property in this 'town without pity' is enough to be saddled with. Who ultimately wins this game ?

  5. I would opt for a consumption tax over having my property tax nearly quadrupled. (For goodness' sake, use less stuff.)

    My Hudson house will soon be on the market.

    I don't need my next town to plow its alleys 5 or 6 times in a night with a total accumulation of an inch of snow. (In that instance I asked the plowman the next morning if he was making time-and-a-half, and he answered, "oh no, 2 1/2.")

    Before asking whether expensive county governments are necessary at all (as Massachusetts did), here are the New York State counties with higher sales tax than Columbia County's 8.000.

    Allegany - 8.500
    Dutchess - 8.125*
    Erie - 8.750
    Herkimer - 8.250
    Nassau - 8.625*
    New York City - 8.875*
    Oneida - 8.750
    Orange - 8.125*
    Putnam - 8.375*
    Rockland - 8.375*
    Suffolk - 8.625*
    Westchester, Mount Vernon (city) - 8.375*
    Westchester, New Rochelle (city) - 8.375*
    Westchester, White Plains (city) - 8.125*
    Westchester, Yonkers (city) - 8.375*

    *["Rates in these jurisdictions include 3/8% imposed for the benefit of the Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District."]

    By engineering a community of revenue-generating weekenders, a municipal government can rightly assume that citizens will rarely watch what they're doing. There will be no angry crowds wielding farm implements. Not that anyone in present-day Hudson will grieve anyone's but their own assessments; we are already a community that will take this lying down.

  6. A tidbit discovered in conversation w/ the County Assessor: approximately 50% of properties in Hudson have tax exemptions of one kind or another.