If you find a strange man or woman at your door in the next six months, don’t assume he or she is a solicitor or a scammer. Beginning in June, tax assessors will be combing the village and knocking on doors to ask permission from homeowners to enter their homes for an assessment.
The first step in the village-wide revaluation is a physical inspection of all properties, and the process will extend from June 2012 to December 2012. Assessors will stop by your house twice to see if they can find someone at home. Once inside, they will measure the interior and evaluate the quality and condition of the home. According to John J. Valente of Tyler Techonologies, the company that has been retained by the village to do the work, assessors are not concerned about your dog, whether or not the house is clean or beds are made. The visit should take 15-20 minutes. If the assessor cannot get in after two attempts, they will send you a letter to schedule an appointment.
After the physical data collection, Tyler Technologies will use additional data to assess the value of your home. They will look at digital images taken from the street, consider recent comparable sales, make an assessment of the neighborhood and develop a valuation model using mathematical techniques.
And what if you decide not to let the assessor in? Will that help or hurt your assessment? According to Valente, if the assessor is not given access, the company will evaluate the house based on the exterior appearance. If the home appears to be in good condition, they will assume it has a full finished basement and give it an “A” rating. So it probably would behoove you to let the company do their work. Assessors will be carrying identification, so if you are skeptical, ask to see their paperwork before letting them in.
In order to inform everyone about the revaluation process, the company will be meeting with village organizations, issuing press releases and posting information online. From similar work in other towns, Tyler expects to gain entry to 75% of homes, though in Bronxville, 93% of homes were inspected.
Since the village sets the total tax levy, the reassessment will not change how much is collected in total. Rather, the reassessment will change the apportionment of the collection. Current thinking is that following the reassessment one third of homeowners will see their taxes go up, one third will have a decrease and one third will remain the same.
And, if a homeowner is unhappy with their reassessment, what is the process? There will be informal hearings and a grievance day where homeowners can come to Village Hall and state their case. Tyler also estimates that following the process, 10% of Scarsdale taxpayers will file formal tax grievances.
If all goes as planned, the new tax rates will go into effect for the 2014-15 tax roll.