Property Reassessment in the City of Schenectady


What to do if you disagree with your assessment.  (Click link above for grievance forms.)

Grievance forms must be submitted by 8:00 PM on Tuesday, May 25, 2010 in the Bureau of Assessment office.


2010 Assessment Data for Tentative Roll

Single-family homes (property classification 210). 

Two-family homes (property classification 220).

Three-family homes (property classification 230).

Apartments (Property classification 411).

All sales of 1, 2 and 3 family homes from July 1, 2008 - June 30, 2009.

Please see legend below for category explanations.


City of Schenectady • Bureau of Assessment

105 Jay Street • Room 8 • Schenectady, NY, 12305 Patrick T. Mastro, Sole Assessor • [518] 382-5075

Dear Property Owner:

Enclosed is an Assessment Disclosure Notice which will be recorded on the 2009 Tentative Assessment Roll. The notice states your previous assessment, your new preliminary assessment and the tax liability projection using the 2008 city and county tax levy. This notice does not include Special District fees or your school tax. The school tax projection is not included because the Schenectady City School District levies their tax on the prior year roll. Therefore, your July 2009 school tax bill will be based on your 2008 Assessed Value not the new preliminary value.

Future budgets cannot be predicted at this time and therefore, the estimated tax appearing on your notice is a snapshot of what your taxes would have been in January 2009, as if the preliminary assessed value was applied. The new value will affect the January 2010 city and county tax bill and the July 2010 school tax bill.

In valuing all real estate, except farmland, the assessor uses one or more of three acceptable appraisal approaches to determine value. The three approaches are: the cost approach, the income approach and the sales comparison approach. The sales comparison approach was used to value residential properties. Commercial properties were valued using the income approach. Roll Section 8 (exempt from taxation) properties were valued using the cost approach. Both the income approach and the cost approach were utilized when valuing industrial properties.

If you disagree with the Assessed Value, you may call the Bureau of Assessment at 518-382-5075 beginning the week of March 2, 2009 to schedule an appointment for an informal review. Informal reviews will be conducted by appointment only at the Casino in Central Park beginning the week of March 9, 2009 and concluding on April 10, 2009. There will be data publications available at the Bureau of Assessment for you to reference if you disagree with the new assessed value. Data will also be available at the City of Schenectady website (www.cityofschenectady.com).

An informal review is an opportunity for property owners to disagree with the new preliminary assessed value prior to the Grievance Process. If an informal review is requested, property owners will be required to provide information which supports their opinion of value. In the event that documentation is not provided, the informal review will be dismissed immediately. Please keep in mind that informal reviews are not a forum for taxpayers to complain about the amount of taxes they are to pay or whether they have the ability to pay them.

If after an informal hearing, you are still dissatisfied with the Assessor's determination, you can appeal to the Board of Assessment Review through the formal grievance process. The grievance period begins on May 1, 2009 and ends on Grievance Day, May 26, 2009.

Respectfully yours,
Patrick T. Mastro, Sole Assessor


Legend:

St No - The property location number recorded on the Assessment Roll

St Location - The street location recorded on the Assessment Roll

SBL Print Key - The property identification number (section, block and lot)

Prop Class - The property classification.  210 = single family, 220 = two family, 230 = three family and 280 = multiple residence

Bldg Style - The building style

Yr Built - The year built

Overall Cond - The overall condition of the structure - includes interior and exterior

Bedrms - The number of bedrooms

Baths - The number of full baths

1/2 Baths - The number of 1/2 baths

FP - The number of fireplaces

SFLA - The square foot living area as measured and recorded

Land Frt - The front distance according to tax maps supplied by Schenectady County Real Property

Land Depth - The depth distance according to tax maps supplied by Schenectady County Real Property


A Message to Schenectady Property Owners:

In January 2007, we began the first part of a comprehensive revaluation of all residential, commercial and industrial properties in the City of Schenectady. This is the first time in more than 15 years that a complete reassessment for every property has been conducted which includes visual inspections of individual homes and businesses.

Reassessment is part of the adopted 2007 City Budget, and is an essential component in our continued plan to restore Schenectady’s financial integrity. Moreover, reassessment helps to ensure that all properties in the City of Schenectady are assessed on a fair and equitable basis.

Because the last reassessment, conducted in 2003, included only a portion of the city’s residential properties – and but a few commercial and industrial properties – our assessment records are not up to date. As a result, some property owners are not necessarily paying their fair share of property taxes. That dynamic is unfair, and ultimately hurts all of us.

While the impact of a complete reassessment will not be determined until the 2009 tax roll has been calculated, and any adjustments to your tax bill which may be required will not begin until the 2010 budget year, it is not possible to know at this time just how reassessment will affect you financially.
The following questions and answers have been prepared to address the most frequently asked concerns you may have regarding our reassessment process. Please take a moment to review them.

The Schenectady Department of Assessment is always available to answer any additional questions you may have regarding your property during regular business hours. Call the Assessment Office at 382-5075. Additionally, please feel free to contact the Mayor’s Office at 382-5000 any time during normal business hours.

Your cooperation is greatly appreciated during this important process.


Mayor Brian U. Stratton


What are the financial impacts on Schenectady if a reassessment is not completed now?

The reassessment is part of the City’s adopted budget for 2007, and is an essential component of Mayor Stratton’s strategic plan for financial restoration in Schenectady. It is to the City’s continued financial benefit to complete a thorough reassessment of all residential, commercial and industrial property. It would be financially irresponsible and detrimental to not move forward with a reassessment. Here are some of the major reasons why:

  • The City will move closer to the ceiling established by the Constitutional Tax Limit, risking loss of State aid.
     

  • Unfair assessments and tax inequity.
     

  • Property taxes will rise at a rapid rate.
     

  • Increase in tax certiorari cases (challenges to tax assessments).
     

  • Negative impact on the City’s Bond Rating.
     

  • Lack of control over the Equalization Rate.
     

  • Loss of State aid for completion of reassessment.


What does a “Reassessment” mean?

A “Reassessment” is the process of re-certifying the value of property or land for tax purposes. New York State’s Real Property Tax Law requires all properties in Schenectady to be assessed fairly and at a uniform percentage of market value.


What is the “Equalization Rate” and why is it important?

The equalization rate is the state’s measure of a municipality’s “level of assessment”. This is the ratio of total assessed value to the municipality’s total market value. The municipality determines the assessed value and the market value is estimated by the state.

  • An equalization rate of 100 means that the municipality is assessing property at 100 percent of market value.
     

  • An equalization rate of less than 100 means that the municipality’s total market value is greater than its assessed value.
     

  • An equalization rate of greater than 100 means that the total assessed value for the municipality is greater than its total market value.


Schenectady underwent a property reassessment in 2003, so why is it necessary to conduct another reassessment now?

The Mayor and the City Council want to ensure all property owners that taxes are levied on a fair and equitable basis. Since 2003 property values in the City of Schenectady have risen markedly resulting in an equalization rate of 75 percent in 2006. The 2003 reassessment, conducted under the previous administration, was a “partial reassessment”.

Trending methodologies used during the 2003 reassessment process resulted in some neighborhoods receiving higher assessments and others remained the same. Therefore, only a portion of the residential properties were reassessed. Additionally, the property data used in the analysis was last updated in 1992 and has been proven to be unreliable resulting in inaccurate assessed values. All of these factors contribute to the need to update our property values. A complete, house-to-house, business-to-business reassessment will allow the City to update data records that are used in determining assessed values.


Why does the City need to do an interior inspection of my home?

The City Assessor has requested that you allow both interior and exterior inspections, which provide the basis for identifying comparable sales that will be used in determining value.


Who are Data Collectors and why should I let them inside my house?

Data Collectors are trained and knowledgeable contractors hired by the City to assist in the reassessment process. The Schenectady Police Department has conducted thorough background checks on each inspector for the safety of our citizens.

Upon arrival at your home or business, inspectors are required to show you their City of Schenectady identification badges (photo IDs). A sample photo is available for viewing on the left portion of this web page. All inspectors have completed a comprehensive training program conducted by the City Assessor’s Office, and are required to be polite, courteous and respectful of you and your property. If you have any concerns, please call the City Assessor’s Office at 382-5075.


If I am not at home, or am unavailable when Data Collectors are in my neighborhood, can I make an appointment for a Data Collector to come back at a time more convenient to me?

Yes.  When a Data Collector arrives at your property and no one is home, he or she will leave a signed letter (click for sample) with his or her name and a contact number.  You may call the phone number given and arrange an appointment at your convenience.


What happens if a Data Collector breaks or destroys personal property in my house?

If you believe that your home or personal property has been damaged by a Data Collector, you may submit reasonable and verifiable claims to the Office of City Corporation Council. Any applicable reimbursement will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by the City Council.


Do I have the right to refuse an interior inspection of my home?

While you are not required to let the assessor or data collector in your home, your cooperation, along with that of all other property owners in the City, helps assure that your assessment will be fair and based on complete and accurate information. Without such cooperation, data collectors are forced to estimate how many bedrooms, bathrooms, etc., there are in your home. Later, if you disagree with the assessment for your property and ask that it be lowered through a formal tax grievance process, assessment officials will be mandated to conduct an interior inspection to obtain the information you refused to provide in order to rule on your request for a lower assessment.


I recently made modifications to the interior of my home, how will that impact my assessment?

Cosmetic upgrades such as paint, wallpaper or carpeting will not increase your assessed value. However, major renovations to baths, kitchens, attics and basements will be noted and reflected in the reassessment process.


When will the reassessment project be completed and what assessment roll will the new assessed values appear on?

The reassessment process will be conducted in three phases from 2007 to 2009. The first phase of the reassessment project is data collection which began in January 2007 and is expected to continue through the end of the year. In 2008, the second phase - Valuation Production and Testing - will be completed. Phase three involves field review, disclosure notice and informal review. Upon completion of phase three in 2009, the new assessed values will be posted to the 2009 Tentative Roll. Property owners would not realize any potential financial impact – up or down – until the 2010 tax year.



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