AMHERST, NY - On the heels of the first town-tax hike in seven years, Amherst residents now face a re-assessment of their properties in 2017.
While many may presume that it will mean paying even more in taxes, town officials say that's not necessarily the case.
Erie County's largest town continues to develop and grow with businesses, while maintaining a healthy stock of desirable homes.
However, it hasn’t reassessed its 44,000 parcels since 2009.
“We have found that our housing parcels are going up in value, but not necessarily uniformly, “said Town Supervisor Barry A. Weinstein. “In certain parts of the town they are going up more than others, and so there's an inequity in the taxing formula when people are not assessed properly,” he said.
While Town Assessor David C Marrano says he has no doubt that most properties in the town will be assessed at a higher value than they were in 2009, he insists that doesn’t necessarily mean a property owner who has their assessment raised will be paying more in taxes.
“We actually expect all the tax rates to go down,” Marrano told WGRZ-TV. “Keep in mind, you divide total assessed value into the levy, to get a rate-per-thousand. If the total assessed value goes up ten-percent, and the total levy goes up only two percent, those rates are going to drop," he said.
The caveat, however, is that taxing authorities like the town, county, and school districts hold the line on spending.
"If the tax levy stays the same, we will see one third of the people with lower taxes, one third with higher taxes, and one third the same," said Weinstein. Moreover, according to the Supervisor, all taxpayers would be paying an amount closer to their fair share because they would taxed based on the value of their homes currently, and not the value placed on them in 2009.
Property owners will begin receiving their new assessments in mid-February, according Marrano, after which the town will sponsor a series of public information sessions not only to explaining the re-assessment, but also to instruct people how they can file a grievance if they feel their assessment is too high.