- Last Updated: 14 July 2016 14 July 2016
As you may know, last week Governor Cuomo signed the “phase-in” legislation proposed for the Town of Ossining, which allows the Town to institute an exemption allowing property owners whose taxes stand to increase to apply for a “phase in” of the taxes associated with that new assessment. We have received several questions from residents about how this legislation may affect them, and I wanted to take some time to address the questions as we move into the Public Hearing process.
The law itself ( you can find a copy here) allows for a phase-in for one, two or three-family homes that fit a defined set of criteria, including but not limited to STAR eligibility, having no delinquent taxes or building violations on the property, etc. So if the law has been signed by the Governor, you may be wondering where the Town Board comes in. The Town Board has the discretion to decide at what level of tax increase residents will be allowed to apply, and the decision made by the Town will be described in Local Law #8 of 2016, on which we have scheduled a Public Hearing for Tuesday, July 26th. As of now, the discussion has only addressed properties whose taxes would have gone up in excess of 25%, although this has not been finalized. It is also worth noting that properties are not allowed to apply for the exemption if their increase in taxes is a result of property improvements discovered as a result of the revaluation, or as a result of a lost exemption of another kind.
In the event that a property fits all of the necessary qualifications and is approved for the exemption, the taxes they are scheduled to pay in the coming two years will be “phased in,” so that in the first taxable year (using the September 2016 roll), they will pay 34% of the increase, representing an exemption of 66%. In the second taxable year (using the September 2017 roll), they will pay 66% of the increase, representing an exemption of 34%, until finally in the third year, they will pay 100% of the taxes based on their assessment.
If we illustrate this using real numbers, it may look something like this: A home’s value went up from $300,000 before the revaluation to $400,000 after the revaluation, and the property taxes on the home went from $10,000 to $12,500 as a result. Assuming this homeowner was qualified and successfully applied, they would receive an exemption, but only on the additional $2,500. In the first year, the tax bill would reflect 34% of the difference ($10,850), and in the second year, the tax bill would reflect 66% of the difference ($11,650), before coming to the full tax bill in the third year (for argument’s sake, we will assume there was no change in tax levy during this three year period).
We have gotten a few questions about how these exemptions will affect, if at all, property owners who do not apply for the exemption, whose tax obligation has not changed as a result of the revaluation, or those who are expecting a tax decrease based on a decreased assessment. The truth is that everyone’s bill will be affected for the two years during the “phase in,” but probably much less than you’d assume. Please keep in mind that any exemptions are only on the increase (in this case, $2500), not the entire tax bill.
According to our Assessor, there are just 572 properties of the 10,200 parcels in Ossining that would qualify based on the criteria using 25% as the cut-off, which is just over 5% of Ossining parcels. However, many properties that fit into this category have already filed a grievance with the Board of Assessment Review and will be lowered below the 25%. Additionally, property owners have to “opt in” to be considered for the exemption, and not everyone eligible will do so.
We have heard from a few of you that you feel it is unfair to those who have been long over-assessed, who will continue to pay more than your fair share in order for others to be granted this exemption, which is certainly a fair point. It is important to note that if you feel your property is over assessed, you are afforded the opportunity to grieve your assessment every year. However, an important factor of assessment is that properties can always be lowered, but without a full revaluation, there is no mechanism in place (in the absence of new construction) to raise individual assessments as property values increase. This exemption is meant to serve as a transition period to soften the blow for those who, through no fault of their own, have been paying less than the amount of tax that corresponds to the true value of their property.
I encourage you to follow our progress on this final stage of the reval—the process to enact this exemption will need to be a quick one, since the roll will be finalized by the Assessor on September 1st. The Assessor’s Office is hard at work preparing the exemption application, and we will keep you posted as to when it will be available and by what date submission will be necessary.
Additionally, we wanted to share some information about our Waterfront Concert Series, which this past week was moved indoors to the Community Center due to the threat of thunderstorms. A big thanks to everyone who braved the drizzle to join us, and a special thanks to Breakfast for the Boys and the Gyro Uno Truck for rolling with the last minute venue change.
I hope you'll join us for this week's concert featuring The Soul Projekt. This group is a big Ossining favorite (you may remember them from the 2016 Inauguration or from various other appearances around town), and the weather looks good for Friday night, so be sure to join us at Louis Engel Park for the show!
- Last Updated: 11 July 2016 11 July 2016
- Last Updated: 12 July 2016 12 July 2016
I hope everyone had an easy week back from the holiday weekend, kept cool in the heat, and is ready to keep the summer going with some great activities this weekend, starting with the Waterfront Concert Series show this evening at 7PM, featuring "Breakfast for the Boys"!
*PLEASE NOTE- the concert tonight has been moved indoors to the Community Center due to thunderstorms in the forecast! Come check out some great music, and grab dinner from the Gyro Uno Food Truck!*
Also this weekend, two more outdoor fitness classes will be happening through Mind, Body, Spirit Ossining, a program the Town is offering to get our residents out and moving while spending time in our beautiful parks and open spaces. Tomorrow night at 6PM, Kendra Rossney from Dragonfly Wellness Yoga Studio will be hosting a waterfront Yoga Flow class at Louis Engel Park. Then on Sunday, July 10th at 9:30AM, Enrique Rosario from ICU Fit Training will be hosting another "Sunday Fun-Day" event, also at Louis Engel Park. Come out and enjoy these free offerings and soak in some sunshine while you're at it! The classes continue throughout the summer, take a look at the Mind, Body, Spirit page for more information and dates to mark in your calendar.
Another exciting event this Sunday is the "EcoBeneficial Gardening 101" class at the Teatown Lake Reservation Carriage House, hosted by environmental horticulturist Kim Eierman. This program for adults promises some great information about how the type of plants in your garden, as well as the way you maintain them, can encourage a wide diversity of insect and bird species in your yard. Reservations are required: please call (914) 762-2912, Ext. 110, to hold your spot for this free event, scheduled for 10AM on Sunday, July 10th. Also at Teatown on Sunday will be a chance to practice "Shinrin-Yoku", or "experiencing the natural world on its own terms." Meditative walks are prefaced by an introduction to increasing awareness through the senses. This Sunday's adult meeting will begin at 9:45AM; if you decide to attend, please bring along bug spray and water and be sure to dress for the weather.
With the 90 degree temperatures this week, we have also increased hours at the Spray Park to keep everyone extra cool: through Sunday, July 10th, the Spray Park will be open extended hours (11AM until 7PM), and we will return to normal hours on Monday, July 11th (12PM to 6PM).
With the Town's reduced meeting schedule this summer, we had a little extra time this week to work on some long-term projects. We submitted a grant for the installation of an ADA-compliant kayak launch at Louis Engel Park, which will continue to expand recreational access to our waterfront. I also had the chance to sit in on a meeting about the proposed Sing Sing Prison Museum, where we heard from museum consultants, Lord Cultural Resources, with highlights from their Phase One report that contained recommendations for the museum's missions and goals, business plan, and visitor experience. Plans are moving along nicely and thanks are in order to Historic Hudson River Towns and Jerry Faiella for leading the charge. If you're interested in learning more about Sing Sing, I encourage you to attend an event hosted by the Ossining Historical Society (196 Croton Avenue) this coming Wednesday, July 13th at 7PM; Michael Capra, the Superintendent of Sing Sing Correctional Facility, will be on hand to engage in an informal discussion on a variety of topics related to the prison. Please RSVP by tomorrow by calling the Historical Society at (914) 941-0001 if you plan to attend.
If you missed the St. Ann's Fair in June, the Ossining Fireworks last week, or (like me) you just plain love festivals, make sure not to miss the St. Augustine's 39th Annual Italian Festival, beginning on Tuesday, July 19th and going through Sunday, July 24th between 6PM and 11PM. This great community event hosts rides, games of chance, music and delicious food, and on Wednesday, June 20th, there will be a fireworks show after dark. Not a bad way to spend a summer weeknight!
I know it seems premature, but we received notice today about Westchester Community College's Fall 2016 Afterschool Science Academy, and I just had to share some of the exciting course offerings they have in store. Right at the Ossining Extension Center of WCC, students will have the choice of studying Pullback Car Engineering or Vertical Access Wind Turbines, both of which could be the great start of a career in a STEM field. You can check out the application and session dates here.
If you are already an expert in Vertical Wind Turbines but still want to beef up your skills this Fall, WCC is also offering Heartsaver Training, which is a CPR/ AED course for the "lay responder", or non-medical folks. This American Heart Association Training will tell you how to help children ages 1 to adult, and the certification is good for two years. Get more information on how to protect your family and friends-- check out the Heartsaver course description and application here.
I notified everyone about this in my last update, but just as a reminder: the Town of New Castle has begun the process of reclaiming and repaving Spring Valley Road, a process that is expected to take another two weeks or so. The road will not be closed, but single lane traffic may result in delays. Please plan your travels accordingly.
Finally, the Town Board will be meeting on Tuesday night (July 12th) for a Regular Meeting/ Work Session at the Courthouse. We have a pretty packed agenda, but one item of special importance comes to mind. When the Town went through the reval process, the concern of many residents was that their assessments would increase to a level unsustainable for their family. As you may recall, I had asked our representatives in New York State to draft legislation to allow for a "phase-in" of certain assessments following the reval process over the past few years; they successfully carried it, and the Governor signed it earlier this week. The Town Board will be discussing our part in this process at Tuesday's Work Session, which will be to decide upon a level of increased assessment that will allow a property owner to apply for an exemption, and call for a public hearing to enact a local law setting that threshold. I am grateful to our legislators for taking up the cause of Ossining residents, and I want to extend my special thanks to Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, Senator David Carlucci, and to Governor Cuomo for allowing our eligible property owners to have some time to plan for this coming financial change for their families. Similar legislation was passed for the Town of Greenburgh, and LoHud published a comprehensive article about the process, which you can find here.
Please see below for some other upcoming events-- I hope to see you out and about this weekend in Ossining!
- Last Updated: 12 July 2016 12 July 2016
Birdsall-Fagan Police/Court Facility
86-88 Spring Street, Ossining NY 10562
pdf 7-12-2016 Agenda (52 KB) (Updated 7/12)
- pdf Local Law #6 of 2016 Moratorium (14 KB)
- pdf Local Law #7 of 2016 Emergency Access System (16 KB)
All Board Meetings are televised LIVE on GO-TV, on Channel 78. Taped shows are repeated every Thursday at 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Channels 78 and 18.