The Northern Westchester Examiner

Peekskill Council to Vote on Property Revaluation

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The Peekskill Common Council was scheduled Monday night to vote on the first revaluation of city properties in 61 years.

Mayor Frank Catalina asked City Manager Anthony Ruggiero to put the somewhat controversial action on the agenda following last week’s work session when a member of the New York State Office of Real Property Tax Services spoke about the benefits of reassessment.

“Reassessment is about creating equity and fairness in the assessment roll,” explained John Wolman, southern district coordinator for the state. “The city certainly has some issues with its assessments. There’s a tremendous amount of variation.”

Peekskill City Assessor Michele Jordan has been pushing the Common Council to join Ossining, Greenburgh and Yonkers in approving revaluation. She told the council earlier this year “inequities” have existed in Peekskill for decades with properties that are either over assessed or under assessed.

As a result, over the last six years, Jordan said tax certioraris have cost Peekskill $3.2 million and the Peekskill School District more than $6 million.

“Reassessment is a way of stopping the hemorrhaging,” Wolman said, adding municipalities with up to date assessments have higher bond ratings and experience economic revitalization.

With a revaluation, the rule of thumb is one-third of property owners will see no change to their taxes, one-third will pay less and one-third will pay more. The cost to Peekskill for a firm to study the assessments of all residential and commercial parcels in the city would be $964,000.

Jordan has said the city could bond the money over five years and would be refunded over time by the drop in tax challenges that would occur.

If the city agrees to take part in the study this year, reassessment could be completed in 2016 and would affect the April 2017 tax bills.

Catalina noted a resolution to authorize citywide revaluation would require at least four votes from the seven-member council. However, a separate resolution authorizing up to $1 million in bonds to finance the study would require a minimum of five votes.

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