Tuesday, March 5, 2019

About the Reassessments

The 2019 Reassessment Notification arrived in the mailboxes of Hudson property owners yesterday, and the news sent just about every property owner in Hudson reeling. People found the estimated market value of their buildings had doubled or trebled since the previous assessment, and the potential (albeit hypothetical) impact of that increase in value on the actual property tax levied on the property was staggering. When trying to deal with your new assessment, here's some information to bear in mind.

The decision to do a citywide revaluation was made, and GAR Associates was hired, almost two years ago. The revaluation was supposed to happen in 2018, but because the City's previous assessor, Cheryl Kaszluga, resigned in July 2017, the Common Council passed a resolution on September 19, 2017, authorizing the mayor--then Tiffany Martin--to execute a letter of agreement with GAR Associates to postpone the reval for one year. That year is now.

When people talk about assessments and their relation to taxes owed, they like to talk about the pie and your piece of the pie. At the Common Council meeting on February 19, 2019, Dave Barnett from GAR explained, "If the total pie increases and the budget stays the same, the projected rate should go down." (You can hear what he has to say in Dan Udell's video. Barnett's discussion of "the pie" happens around 40:00.) He also noted that "the total pie is still a moving target," and, we might add, so are the budgets.

The school district budget for 2019-2020, which represents the heaviest tax burden for Hudson property owners, is now being developed. The new assessments will not affect the city and county tax levy until 2020. Those budgets for 2020 have yet to be developed, but for 2019, the city budget increased 3 percent and the county budget increased 1.7 percent. Those increases may provide some hint about possible increases for 2020. (A helpful video, which explains why the 2 percent tax cap in New York State doesn't mean your property tax bill can only increase by 2 percent annually is available here.) 

Speaking to the Common Council last month, Barnett stressed that the assessment values are only preliminary and that it is their "responsibility and goal to get your value correct." Getting the value correct is a process that relies a great deal on the property owner. The month of March is the time to challenge your assessment. To prepare for that, there are a number of resources. 
If you decide to challenge your assessment, here are the steps for follow (outlined by the city assessor):
  1. Obtain a review application--residential, commercial, or vacant land
  2. Research sale/assessment information to find comparable sales
  3. Schedule an informal review appointment (1-866-910-1776) or submit the completed review application by email (cityofhudsonreval2019@garappraisal.com), fax (1-855-319-8451), or mail (GAR Associates LLC, P.O. Box 378, Clifton Park, NY 12065). Requests for appointments must be made by March 15. Review applications must be submitted no later than March 29. 
Formal Grievance Day is Tuesday, May 28, 2019.


  1. Sorry Carole, but this so much dust thrown in the good taxpayers' eyes. We are supposed to have PhDs in property tax law, not to mention have a law degree in order to expect fairness from our City government. Of course, tax rate will go down if you increase assessed valuations by 50-, 60-, 100-, 150-percent on a sizeable chunk of the City. That's not called "getting it right," that's called "arbitrary and capricious" governance, known to some of us veteran tax-fighters as an Article 78. This should be a great double-whammy for the City: not only inflicting great economic harm on hundreds of citizens, but also exposing itself to a multitude of lawsuits. This happened in 2008 -- when the City decided to increase assessed values by double-digit figures in the middle of the Great Recession, caused by the collapse of housing prices! This assessment program is equally unhinged, equally unfair.

    1. Peter, you appear be really smart and on top of these tax assessments. I hope you will continue to speak up... and if need be, hold workshops for the residents of Hudson who need to be educated. The issues around these assessments are complex and anxiety producing for many. Thank you for your contributions.

  2. If you call GAR at the number provided on the Reassessment Notification sheet, you can request that they email you the addresses of the specific comparables they used to calculate the value of your property; and per their staff today, they will do so within two business days. This information can be critical in helping you to distinguish GAR's comps and propose alternates that are more analogous to your property.

  3. It's important to note that there are two separate issues:

    #1 - Is your particular property assessment fair?

    #2 - Will the mill rate be properly calibrated (hopefully downward) to the City budget?

  4. Thank you for that information, Carole. Very useful.

  5. Can anyone post the aggregate assessed value for all real property in the City AFTER the reval, as well as the aggregate assessed value of all real property in the City in 2018? One needs to know how much the TOTAL City assessment changed in order to evaluate the significance of the change in one's own assessment.

  6. Agreed. Only once we know the denominator for Hudson can we judge the fairness of our respective numerators.

  7. My valuation more than doubled in the recent re-assessment, but it's a number than is in line with the actual value of the property, so I won't be grieving in front of the BAR. But the mill rate had better come down significantly, or we will all be up $hit creek.

  8. Even if the mill rate comes down, our school tax seems to increase significantly, as reflected in the projections included with the mailing. This is because the school district is bigger than just the city, right?

  9. As much as GAR thinks it has made things right with "reval," the City has gotten this process all wrong, as it did in 2008. It's important to remember that what it's making "right" is City incompetence. How did we get it so wrong over the last 10 years? What has City Hall -- and a paid City assessor -- been doing? No, no. Doubling,trebling, quadrupling assessments is not the answer. Firing those who have made things so wrong is. Resignations might be in order. Six months of hair shirt penance perhaps How about this: The City impose the new assessments on a sliding scale, over the next five years, where the maximum assessment increase in any one year is 20%.