To the Editor:
A recent posting on the Croton United website incorrectly states that we in Croton pay “the highest taxes in Westchester county and therefore the highest taxes in the nation.” The claim is not true. Indeed, according to the State Comptroller there are more than 100 villages in NY with tax rates greater than the Village of Croton.
While the tax rate C.U. cites—$258.40 per $1,000 of assessed value—is technically correct, it does not accurately represent the relationship between a property’s assessed value and its actual value.
First, a brief math class (did I just lose half of you?). Say your property is worth $400,000. Lop off the last three 0s to give you 400 (that’s the per $1,000). Now, multiply that 400 by the stated tax rate: 258.40. Does your calculator read $103,360? If the C.U. web site is to be believed, that’s the village portion of your property tax bill, which is obviously not the case.
Here’s where the confusion lies: Taxing entities differ as to whether their assessment reflects 100% of the property value or some lesser percentage. In Croton, it’s the latter because we haven’t reassessed property values in decades even though property values have gone way up. In fact, it was so long ago that the average property in Croton is still valued at less than $14,000, which it clearly isn’t.
Using the equation from above, if we multiply $258.40 by 14 (remember, it’s per $1,000) we come to $3,617—which is much closer to what we actually pay in taxes.
The state, recognizing that not all municipalities evaluate property the same, created a tax table that puts its villages’s tax rates in perspective. That list shows that there are well over a hundred villages with far higher tax loads than ours, including several here in Westchester.
This is complicated stuff, so it makes sense that there might be some misunderstanding. I hope I’ve helped demystify the tax code a bit.