07/06/15 6:00am
07/06/2015 6:00 AM

With news late last month that the New York State Legislature extended the 2-percent property tax cap another four years, we took a look back at the property tax warrants — the amount of property taxes collected by the town each year, including school, town, county and other taxes — in the two North Fork towns to see if taxes had increased at a lesser rate since the law was enacted.

We found that not only had the tax warrant increased at a slower pace in Southold and Riverhead towns since 2012, it did so at a significant rate. (more…)

05/17/15 8:00am
05/17/2015 8:00 AM

Anyone who builds a home addition or installs a swimming pool can reasonably expect their property assessment, which measures how much a house is worth and then taxes accordingly, to increase. But homeowners who think they’ve been unfairly charged have the option of filing a grievance with their town’s tax assessor’s office.

Just be sure to act quickly, because the deadline to file a grievance in New York State this year is Tuesday, May 19.

“Generally speaking, a lot of people don’t have a good impression of what their house is worth,” said Paul Henry, who has owned Tax Reduction Services in Greenport since 1990. In 2014, he said, the company helped more than 10,000 clients in Suffolk and Nassau counties file grievances in an effort to reduce their bills.

“What we do is find inequities,” Mr. Henry continued. “We look for properties that are being overvalued for the purpose of property taxes and then establish a value we think is more correct.”

(more…)

01/19/15 8:00am
01/19/2015 8:00 AM
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces a proposal to offer certain residents a property tax credit on Wednesday. (Credit: Governor's office)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces a proposal to offer certain residents a property tax credit on Wednesday. (Credit: Governor’s office)

It’s one of two things, according to Benjamin Franklin, that is certain in life: taxes.

And one proposal by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo aims to at least ease the tax burden for about 1.3 million people across the state.

While the governor can’t pass legislation preventing another of Mr. Benjamin’s certainties from occurring — death — his ‘Opportunity Agenda’ would provide an average $1,150 in annual tax credits for over 125,000 homeowners in Suffolk County, and 1.3 million across the state. (more…)

09/07/12 7:00pm
09/07/2012 7:00 PM

Although state law prohibits the town and other local taxing authorities from raising the property tax levy more than 2 percent in any one year, Southold Town could see a tax rate hike approaching 3 percent in 2013, said Supervisor Scott Russell, who must submit a new spending plan outline by the end of this month.

Several economic factors, all unfavorable, are the cause, Mr. Russell said.

Town employee pension payments alone will rise $277,000 over this year’s level, he said.

That will add a full percentage point to the tax rate hike. Pension costs do not count toward the 2 percent limit.

While that expense continues to rise, the town’s mortgage tax revenue continues to be far below past levels. When real estate sales are booming, that funding can approach $7 million a year and even in an average year the town can expect to take in between $4 million and $5 million, Mr. Russell said.

Next year he expects the town will received under $1 million.

“It should come as no surprise to anyone that the economic conditions have not improved and the outlook remains bleak,” Mr. Russell said.

This year’s town budget raised property taxes 2.2 percent.

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Read the complete story in the Sept. 13 issue of The Suffolk Times.

04/01/11 4:03pm
04/01/2011 4:03 PM

The Southold Library is taking the hint from Governor Andrew Cuomo, who earlier this year proposed a 2 percent cap on property tax hikes.

The State Legislature has yet to act on the governor’s proposal, but the library’s pending 2012 budget carries a property tax hike of 2 percent.

If voters say yes, library spending will rise by $15,308 to $831,860. The tax rate will increase by 72 cents to $25.46 per $1,000 of assessed value.

The increase includes $9,000 in small pay raises for the library’s 21 employees and minor increases in building maintenance and contractual expenses, said Library Director Caroline MacArthur.

“The board of directors and I feel very strongly that now is not the time to enhance services or programs, but to make every effort to continue with current offerings,” said Ms. MacArthur. “We are hoping the community will support this and understand the philosophy of staying very fiscally conservative.”

The new budget includes the same amount as last year, $75,500, for library materials. Ms. MacArthur said that the library is short on shelf space and is currently removing one book for every book added to the collection.

The library suffered a blow last year when it’s $7 million expansion project failed by a wide margin. The director said that the library didn’t spent as much as usual on maintenance last year in the hopes of upgrading the building through the failed expansion.

Ms. MacArthur says Southold residents with budget questions can call her at 765-2077.

The library budget will be on the same ballot as the Southold school budget on May 17. Voting takes place in the high school gymnasium from 3 to 9 p.m.