BEDFORD, N.Y. — Things were somewhat lonely around the Mount Kisco Tax Assessor's office Tuesday, but, in neighboring Bedford, the joint was jumping — for Bedford.
Tuesday was tax grievance day, when all paperwork is due from property owners who want to plead for a reduction in their property’s assessed value in hopes of a lower tax bill.
Bedford Town Assessor Harold Girdlestone said this year brought more people into his office seeking a hearing before the town’s Board of Assessment Review.
“For Bedford, I think it was busier than normal,” he said.
According to Girdlestone, there could be many reasons for this, but the biggest is, with the real estate market down, property owners may suspect the town’s assessments are overstated.
While there are always adjustments, if too many people get their taxes lowered, it forces the town to raise the tax rate. Girdlestone said the bigger the base to distribute the existing tax burden, the better. But, he explained, “It’s a zero sum game.” When a property’s value is reduced and the owner’s tax liability decreases, everyone else in town picks up the difference, he said.
Bedford’s Board of Assessment Review will collect the assessment challenges and deliberate over the summer. The board will send each homeowner a letter in early September, before the final tax roll is filed, informing them of its decision as well as the person’s rights and options going forward.
In Mount Kisco, Tax Assessor Roger Miller’s secretary, Sharon Sullivan, said she did not see anyone come through the door Tuesday to file paperwork before the deadline.
“I’m not sure that anyone showed up,” she said. But that doesn't mean everyone is satisfied with their assessments. Sullivan said the office still has to deal with all the grievances that have already been filed by mail or e-mail.