PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. – Several small claims assessment review settlements have been a big pain for Pleasantville’s Board of Trustees because of what they said is an out-of-date tax roll in the village.
The board recently approved four settlements on Pleasantville properties for a total reduction of $38,050 in assessed value. The vote was previously tabled after Trustee Jonathan Cunningham called the nearly 25 percent reductions “ridiculously wrong” and wanted to learn more about the process.
Mayor Peter Scherer said the board could not reject the claims, though, as they were settlements from state Supreme Court. He said over-assessed properties are the result of an old tax roll, which he said was last updated in the 1970s.
“This is just one example of lots of examples in recent years of the difficulty attached to maintaining an equitable tax roll when the tax roll is as old as ours is,” Scherer said. “At a time of economic upheaval, certainly the experience we’ve had in the past four, five years, it encourages obviously a lot of people to grieve their taxes.”
Scherer said that when a property owner wins a case to reduce his or her assessment, the village does not lose money, rather the burden shifts to other property owners to make up for the loss.
“It has had a significant impact on our budget and your taxes, because your taxes go up when the overall tax roll goes down,” Scherer said.
Mount Pleasant Assessor James Timmings said those who file are not getting any sort of “unfair advantage,” they are simply asking that their assessments reflect fair market value.
“It’s our job, to the extent that we can do it, to maintain equity,” Scherer said. “Who among us doesn’t seek what we believe we are entitled to? But the effect of it on lots of communities, and now just us over the last five years, is there has been a flood of tax grievances.”