My House is Worth Less. Shouldn’t I Pay Less Taxes?

Written By: Deprecated User

5B72EB66-68D6-4B54-9AFC-4459FD7E0F30.jpgWhile local and state governments throughout the country are reducing spending, cutting programs and laying off employees, the largest going concern in New Rochelle continues to increase spending, grow programs and add employees – the City School District of New Rochelle.

Tax Bill Appeals Take Rising Toll on Governments , the lead article in the July 4th edition of the New York Times describes the problem of falling tax revenues resulting from falling house values and assessments across the entire country. Seventy six percent of large counties report adverse effects on their county budgets. Although ten percent of large counties have raised their tax rates to compensate for falling assessments, most local governments are “laying off workers, renegotiating labor contracts, freezing salaries and cutting services”.

According to The Times:

Homeowners across the country are challenging their property tax bills in droves as the value of their homes drop, threatening local governments with another big drain on their budgets. The requests are coming in record numbers, from owners of $10 million estates and one-bedroom bungalows, from residents of the high-tax enclaves surrounding New York City, and from taxpayers in the Rust Belt and states like Arizona, Florida and California, where whole towns have been devastated by the housing bust.

Now, how is the New Rochelle Board of Education handling this crisis in finance? Are they laying off personnel? Of course not! They tell us to “suck it up” while maintaining “no show” jobs, hiring incompetent family members and cronies for obsolete positions, falsify invoices for “emergency” expenses to justify no-bid contracts. Are they renegotiating labor contracts? Service contracts? Freezing salaries? Don’t be ridiculous! They are granting raises all around. Are services being cut? Not a one. In fact, they are increasing services dramatically by adding yet another multi-million dollar entitlement program: free Full-Day Kindergarten at a time when we can least afford it. The New Rochelle BOE has only one guiding principle. In good times or bad whatever benefits the union (F.U.S.E.) is good. Whatever limits the union is bad. And what benefits the union is more jobs for more people for more money with more benefits and pensions none of which we can afford.

Acknowledging the reality of the points made here on Talk of the Sound for many months and The Times on Independence Day, means we should be reducing spending but that is bad for the union bosses so the BoE dutifully buries its head in the sand and increases spending across the board:

    “Officials in some states say their property tax revenue is falling for the first time since World War II”
  • “Officials across the country say there is no question that the number of appeals has risen from the usual trickle to a flood”
  • “The call for counties to acknowledge the falling price of homes is loudest in states where taxes are highest, or the housing crisis has hit the hardest”

And how could it be different? The election campaigns of the board members are backed and supported by the union and its president, Mr. Martin Daly, who, himself, imposes a $105,000 per year expense on the school district for a job that requires one hour per day for 180 days a year. Good work if you can get it. Not so good for the rest of us.

The people of New Rochelle will never get their money’s worth and will never get what they are entitled to until they vote the incumbents out of office and vote in new people, not beholden to special interest groups like F.U.S.E. In recent elections for school board and school budget only ten percent of the electorate bothered to vote. This means that the union with its 2200 members can dominate every election. Right now is the time to start planning for, and thinking about, next May’s election.

In October, when your tax bill arrives, the tax rate will be 7-8% higher than it was last year. Think about it! Your school taxes are higher than your state taxes.

8 thoughts on “My House is Worth Less. Shouldn’t I Pay Less Taxes?”

  1. property values
    this is something many of us have spoken about for quite a while and jack wagner summarizes the major contibuting factor quite nicely. recently, shareholders and condo owners dodged a bullet called a commercial ratio assessment put forth by the white plains assessor, bought into by the assembly, and sent to the senate for their approval. fortunately, the senate is on some sort of sabbatical and due to the efforts of a number of us we were able to get our local assembly people to see through this and they quickly contacted the senate to get them to reconsider the legisltion. if you read the article in the july 7 journal news you will see that it appears dead, but suzi oppenheimer, the property of the school districts and their unions, said in effect no one understood it and that she would introduce it likely in the future. she will not; the assembly has seen the light and, if you check her record she is a major stumbling block to school district reform being the head of the eduction committee n the senate. hopefully we will vote out all of the rascals in the senate as they come up.

    look the issue is certiorari. yes, districts are paying a lot more money out in certiorari to respondents and this explains the white plains assessor jumping in as he did given the claims filed in white plains. the problem could be ameliorated if we have mandated reassessments; something that distresses some mayors fearing that their voting base will be disproportionally affected. maybe so, but that should not be a political issue. too many people don’t understand that a reassessment does not add or subtract from the total tax base of a municipality; it simply reapportions according to the assessors findings. of course new rochelle could have an issue with this given the abatement situation, the loss of taxable business and the fact that the people most affected by a reaassessment might be homeowners up north who thankfully, are beginning to see the light on the conditional consequences of certiorari re: district decisions, payments to complaintants, and the political angst around this decision.

    jack wagner has it right. you got to begin by vigorously demanding more accountability and give back. the district must be managed and the union must make concessions as they have in so many other places. that is as simple as anyone can put it. our mayor will likely not act on a city-wide reassessment nor is he likely to change any new business commercial and large scale residential practice so it will likely depend on the county or state to push and promote something positive — both in the school district end and the real estate end. both are kind of sacred cows and suzi oppenheimer is physical evidence of dysfunction in this area.

    look as bob cox will likely agree to, our major challenge is not what do we do with main street, or the armory, or greening of new rochelle, even some of the developmental efforts. some actions need to be taken to be sure, but our major challenge from so many, many points of view remains the school district in terms of its costs, oversight, planning, management, performance and its burden on the community. hopefully some of the many “its for the kids” proponents will wake up during these shaky times and begin to see the light on this. we need to understand that this district is actually harming our youngsters in so many ways; compromising their future, sending out poor messagees in terms of care and maintenance, and making it more difficult for them to compete in an ever complex society.

    ladies and gentlemen — it is time to lock and load which is jargon from my youth — that means focus and focus and more focus. The lack of focus may be Obama’s downfall — too many irons in the fire can work against progress and change. simplify, simplify and FOCUS

    warren gross

    1. Hey Warren , the city’s on fire
      Fine points , all of them , but I take exception with the notion of focusing on the school only . Just like our economy collapsing on many fronts , so to is the city . Main St, Armory , development it all affects the schools and since this city employs two different budgets (city/school) they have the luxury of playing one against the other thus dividing citizens to pick one or the other . I say pick all of them . We CAN voice out about all of it and in the end improve not just the schools but the quality of life and improve the experience of living in NR . I f we were to choose only the schools , we would wind up battling an ever increasing school population , ehich by nature, would need more money , thus clouding the points of efficiencies and increasing the power of the unions . It all goes hand in hand . I will support you and the efforts of reform in the school system . The battle will be on many fronts . Will you voice support with us ?

      1. support cliff
        sure i will cliff without reservation although the city is more smoldering than burning. I think I was simply making the point of priorization. I mention that the other issues are important, but my concern is always the capacity of a community or people to deal with too many things at once and I use Obama and his 30+ “czars” as an illustration.

        Support, yes indeed. my view is always to support and defend causes that promote harmony and positive change in a community and everything you mention fits that bill. In all honesty, some of these are not that critical to me. I am a veteran, but I see the armory in a different light. But, I am more than happy to put my personal preferences aside to stand next to people who come by their views honestly. So yeah, if you need someone to tie to a fence to stop demolition, or a relatively intelligent voice to add to the chorus for this and other causes, count on me. I will continue to try to convince the community that the essential issue is the school district for all the reasons mentioned earlier.

        people like you, cox, wagner, other bloggers whose tags escape me are vital to this community. thanks for the intelligent comment.

        warren gross

      2. Thank you Warren G
        I follow your comments regularly and more often than not am in complete aggreement . Let me reinforce that adding a “cause” by no way is intended to diminish another one . I am ,and have been in support of refreshing the school boards way of operating, to serve the education of children, and in its improving its ability to meet its responsibility to the taxpayer . There is much room for improvement and it is through the comments and reporting by yourself and others that students and taxpayers will be best served . By overcoming the political and social polarization and working together ,we will make a difference . I support Warren G and I support New Rochelle .

  2. It’ Like Deja-Vu all over
    How many posts from how many people spoke of this very issue right here as the countdown to the school election approached ? Not speculation , mind you , but qoutes from the board themselves , amazing extrapolation of data , comparative stories from towns around the area (White Plains claims for reassessment up 300%) . The board says “that’s the number the city gives us” and when empirical data is shown to them they completely ignore what EVERYONE else see’s . Their smugness and lack of ability to connect with anyone but Martian Daily coupled with their unmitigated desire to serve only themselves leads us to a place we all feared was just down the road . I should have spoken out more, convinced more people, and so should everyone else . So , now , when you get your inflated tax bill and say “what the @#%k !” remember the words of Schweig “suck it up” (she should know being the ultimate suck up) or our pathetic ,ethically challenged D.” we need to SPEND more money” Polow who whistfully said ” You voted for it ” . It’s their little way of saying “I told you so” !

  3. nY Times July 5, tax appeals on homes increasing
    The next day (July 5) there is a front page story in the New York Times that homeowners are “challenging their property tax bills in droves” because the value of their homes are decreasing. Former Mayor Paduano brought this up in his talk to the New Rochelle Citizens Reform Club some time ago.

    1. Been brought up here for months
      We’ve been talking about this issue for many months here — that the numbers the school district is using to claim a “small” tax increase of about 3% is based on completely phony numbers.

      In case you missed it, during the 2009-10 budget process between March and May of 2009 the District claimed that the decline in the assessed value of property in New Rochelle would be the same as last year. After pointing out the absurdity of that claim given the economic meltdown and the collapse in real estate prices the District grudgingly increase the size of the decline to an only slightly less absurd number.

      We have been projecting a tax increase to support the school budget of between 6 and 9 percent of two to three times greater than the District claimed when it put forward its budget. No need to debate it now. The actual numbers are being calculated now and will be baked into the tax bills coming October.

      Then folks can see who was telling the truth and who was telling people what they wanted to hear.

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