clubhouse, east hampton, indoor, tennis, cornhole, bar, happy hour, bowling, mini golf

Story - News

May 22, 2019 11:36 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Property Owners Seek Tax Relief On Grievance Day

Southampton Town residents grieve their taxes on Tuesday at St. Rosalie's Church auditorium in Hampton Bays.   DANA SHAW
May 24, 2019 8:35 PM

All told, 663 Southampton Town property owners protested their property tax assessments on Grievance Day, according to Tax Assessor Lisa Goree. Of those, 244 people “grieved” at St. Rosalie’s Church in Hampton Bays, 40 filed at Town Hall, and 379 filed grievances online.

Ms. Goree said she expected the crowd at St. Rosalie’s on Tuesday to be larger than last year because her department sent out nearly double the number of tax notices, but that was not the case.

“It was pretty much the same,” Ms. Goree said Wednesday morning, comparing it to other years. “I didn’t see much of an increase. When I got [to St. Rosalie’s] yesterday, I expected to see a line of people. There was never a line.”

Ms. Goree noted that, by far, the vast majority of tax challenges are filed by private companies on behalf of property owners. “I guess a lot of people filed online, or companies filed for property owners,” she said. “We get, on average, 3,000 more applications that way—some end up being duplicates.”

This year, the overall property assessment in the town is up sharply, by 10 percent, about double that of the last two years, which reflects a continuing rise in the value of properties throughout the town.

When property assessment notices announcing increased assessments were sent out to nearly 30,000 homeowners in April—about two-thirds of all properties in the town—officials reminded residents that the increase in the value of all of the town’s properties did not necessarily mean that individual property tax bills would go up.

A full reassessment is conducted every four years, while every other year the assessments are based on market trends. This year, town conducted a full reassessment of its 52 neighborhoods to ensure every property is assessed on its true market value.

It is not necessarily the case that taxes rise in proportion to hikes in individual property assessments, however, because a larger pool of overall assessed value in the town can actually reduce the tax rate for individual property owners.

One person who was at St. Rosalie’s to grieve his taxes was Ralph DeCicco, 76. He has owned a home in Hampton Bays since 1987, but became a full-time resident only three years ago.

The average property assessment increase in his neighborhood this year was about 2.5 percent, but Mr. DeCicco’s went up 11 percent, he said. In previous years, he has grieved and gotten a portion of the increased amount taken off. When he first purchased his 2,848-square-foot home in 1987, his property taxes were $1,700 per year, but taxes for 2019 will be $12,500.

“They should take a lot off,” he said while waiting 30 minutes to speak with a member of the Board of Assessment Review. “My house is assessed $80,000 more than the highest house they are comparing it to.”

Gayle Lombardi, another Hampton Bays resident, also went to St. Rosalie’s to grieve one of her properties, which went up 40 percent in the assessment.

Ms. Lombardi and her partner have owned the property, which has a house and garage, for about three years. The two structures are in “horrible condition,” she said.

“The value of the house and the garage is almost zero,” Ms. Lombardi said. “That’s why we’re here … the actual structures have no value.”

Ms. Lombardi said she may not be a great example of what is happening in Hampton Bays with assessments, but that everyone files grievances for different reasons.

“I think the process might be somewhat broken,” she said. “The increase in taxes in the Town of Southampton is disguised because our property values went up. It’s not that the property values are the driver to high taxes … they kind of water it down by saying, ‘We lowered the rate.’

“The rate is just a ratio between the unsustainable budgets and the fact that property values went up,” she said.

To view an interactive map, showing each individual residential property’s change in assessed value in 2019, click on the link below:


You've read 1 of 7 free articles this month.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

Grieving isn’t the answer. Voting for people who will cut spending is the answer.
By Isrolia (2), Hampton Bays on May 27, 19 10:17 AM
Hot Tubs,SALE, Southampton Village, SouthamptonFest weekend