Monday, April 20, 2009


I hate dealing with New York taxes, but after a long hard look it's necessary to come to terms with them. It's on everyone's mind, so deal we must!

The latest push came from a woman I spoke with today at Mirbeau. While I was waiting, ever so briefly, for a client, we got to talking. Within three minutes - I kid you not! - the matter of assessments had come up. She stated that a friend of hers had had his property's value increased 550%!

Over the weekend I talked to another man. His waterfront had gone up about 300% over the past few years to the point where he had to sell. The prospect was obviously painful and emotional for him. He still hasn't decided what to do. He's already fought the assessment in the past and brought it down some. Is it a realistic assessment? Only time on the market will tell.

Another man reminded me of the taxes in other parts of the country. His gorgeous - and I do mean gorgeous! - Florida home has about a third of the taxes as my Elbridge home. Do I get more services? I doubt it - public water but no sewer, no garbage pick up or town transfer station. I bet he has all three - and warm weather to boot! Schools? I would think ours would beat theirs, but then, I'm prejudiced.

My cousins down in Alabama pay less for their huge ranch on the golf course. They moved there to get out of the cold when they retired, plus play golf, and pay less for both their home (at that time) and the taxes. They liked it so much that they invited their friends and relatives down for a visit, and they ended up staying! I toyed with the idea myself when I was single, but I'm glad I stayed.

This year my taxes went up at the lake. My assessment increased $50,000 but my taxes decreased $1,000. Go figure! I've heard the same thing from others - one friend's assessment went up $90,000 and her taxes only $100. And then there are the people less fortunate, who now must choose. If we lose the senior STAR program in New York it will be even harder for those who live in one home and use it to keep taxes low.

Solutions, anyone?