Town of Delaware: Assessor Reassessment

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Reassessment Information

Why are we doing a Reassessment?

New York law requires that each property owner’s share of Town taxes should be based on the current market value of the property they own in the Town.  It has been 23 years since the Town has estimated the market value of all properties.  During those years the relative market value of properties has changed.  As the market has changed the distribution of the tax burden among the property owners should have changed.  Without doing a complete “reassessment” we have no way of knowing how to fairly distribute the tax burden.

Couldn’t we just leave the assessments they way they were?

Yes, but that would not be fair to property owners.  Leaving things alone might seem like a good idea to those whose taxes are going up, but what about those whose taxes are going down?  Because the market has shifted significantly since the last reassessment many property owners have been paying more than their share of taxes, just has some have been paying less than their fair share. Remember the law says your share of the property taxes should be based on the current market value of your property, not what the market might have been several decades ago.

It looks like my taxes are going up a lot.  Won’t this be a windfall of taxes for the Town?

No. This reassessment is being done to redistribute the tax burden, not to increase it.  That is, for every dollar your taxes might go up, someone else’s taxes are going down by an equal amount.

This is major change in taxes for many people.  Can’t we implement these changes a little at a time and not all at once?

No.  Gradually implementing a big change in taxes might seem like a good idea for those whose taxes are going up, but what about those whose taxes are going down?  The courts have decided that the changes must be made all at once.

Should my assessment be based on my property’s current use of its “highest and best” use?

Current use.  “Highest and best use” might mean assessing the value of a property such as a farm by looking at the market value of each piece of property if sold separately.  However, the law requires the assessor to look at the property (or business) as a whole.

How are my property taxes computed?

Your share of the Town’s taxes is your property’s assessed value divided by the sum total of the assessed values of all properties in the Town.  The amount you would pay in taxes would be your share multiplied by the total tax levy.

Here is a simple example:  Let’s imagine there are only two properties in the Town of Delaware – yours and your neighbor’s.  Let’s assume your property is worth $100,000 and your neighbor’s is worth $300,000.  If the total Town tax levy was $100 then your share would be $25.

This means for example, that even though you may know your new assessed value, we won’t know exactly what your taxes are going to be until we know two other pieces of information – the sum total of all the other assessments in the Town and the tax levy.  We will soon know what the total assessed value is (except a few properties that might still be in the appeal process).  The school, fire district and Village taxes are other matters to be discussed with those respective governing bodies.

What can I do to lower my taxes?

There are a number of exemptions for which you might qualify.  Here are some examples, but contact the Town Assessor, Renée Ozomek, IAO at (845) 887-5250, ext. 4 for details.

  • STAR – There are two types of STAR exemptions which apply only to your school district taxes
    • Basic STAR
      • available for owner-occupied, primary residences where the resident owners' and their spouses income is less than $500,000
    • Enhanced STAR
      • provides an increased benefit for the primary residences of senior citizens (age 65 and older) with qualifying incomes
  • Veterans – To qualify, the property owner must be a veteran, the spouse of a veteran or the un-remarried surviving spouse of a veteran.  See the Town Assessor for details.
  • Forestry – To qualify, you must have at least 50 acres of land devoted to timber which you are managing as a forest in accordance with a forestry management plan developed by a New York certified forester.
  • Agriculture – To qualify, your property generally must consist of seven or more acres that were used in the preceding two years for the production of crops, livestock, or livestock products. The annual gross sales of agricultural products generally must average $10,000 or more for the preceding two years.

Property Inventory

The Assessor's Office maintains inventory on each parcel for the purposes of valuation.  Listed below are a Glossary and definitions of land types, along with explanations of construction quality and condition.

Glossary:

Last Physical Inspection - This refers to the date that the data collector and/or assessor visited the site.

Property Class - This refers to the Property Class Code and current use of the site, e.g., 210 = 1 family residence.

Zoning Code - This is the designated zoning classification of the parcel, per the official Town zoning map.

Water Supply - This describes your water source - public or private.

Sewer Type - This describes whether you have your own septic system or are connected to the Town sewer plant.

Building Style - This is the designated architectural building style of your dwelling.

Exterior Wall - This is the predominant building material on the outside walls of your dwelling.

Basement Type - this refers to the presence or absence of a basement.  The descriptions are Full, Partial, Slab, Crawl or Piers.  "Full Basement" does not mean finished basement.  A finished basement is noted in the square feet section.

No. Bath - This indicates the number of full and/or half bathrooms in the dwelling.  Full bathrooms contain three (3) fixtures, typically a commode, sink and bathtub or shower stall.  Half bathrooms contain two (2) fixtures, typically a commode and a sink.  A full bathroom is shown as 1.0; a half bathroom is shown as 0.5.

No. Bedrooms - This is the total number of bedrooms, most of which are typically located in the sleeping quarters of the dwelling and are of sufficient size to accommodate a bed.  A bedroom does not require a closet.

No. Fireplaces - This is the total number of usable fireplace openings.  A wood stove is not counted as a fireplace and we do not assess outdoor wood furnaces, however we do record them for inventory purposes.  Fireplace types are masonry or zero clearance.

Area in Square Feet - This is the calculated total square feet of finished living area contained within your dwelling, as based on exterior dimensions collected at the property.  Lengths are rounded to the nearest foot.

Sheds and outbuildings are assessed once the combined square feet exceeds 150.  There may be exceptions to this if the building has electricity or other amenities that would add to the overall property value.

Above ground swimming pools are not assessed, however the deck surrounding the pool will be assessed.

Since we do not have access to the interior of your home, the condition as noted is our best estimate.  Should you disagree with our determination we will request that you provide us with photos or an interior inspection.

Land:

Land is calculated in acres.  Land less than one acre in size is also described in dimensions.

Land Types:

There are fifteen (15) land types used to describe some or a portion of the land.  Those most commonly used are:

01 – Primary – Describes the main building site and is based on the local zoning code.

02 – Secondary – Used for additional sites within a parcel.  Usually does not have road frontage.

03 – Undeveloped – Land that is presently vacant, but which is a potential primary site.

04 – Residual – Land in excess of primary and secondary.

05 – Tillable – Describes farm land (other than muck, vineyard or orchard) which is suitable for the cultivation of crops.

08 – Wasteland – Describes land areas of little or no economic value such as underwater or swamps.

10 – Waterfront – Describes water front type and front feet.

Kitchen and Bath Quality:

1 – Poor – This indicates that the kitchen or bath is approaching unsound condition.  There are obvious signs of deterioration due to deferred maintenance over a long period of time.

2 – Fair – This indicates that the kitchen or bath shows signs of deferred maintenance relative to its age, but is quite usable as is.  It requires greater than normal maintenance or repairs to restore it to normal condition.

3 – Normal – This indicates that the kitchen or bath shows normal signs of wear and tear for its age, and few signs of deferred maintenance.  The room and its fixtures are perfectly suitable for use, even though the style and features may be slightly out of date.

4 – Good – This indicates that the kitchen or bath shows no signs of wear and tear, due to greater than normal maintenance, partial renovations or installation of new fixtures.

5 – Excellent – This indicates that the kitchen or bath is in like-new condition, shows no evidence of physical deterioration and is equipped with best quality appliances and/or fixtures.