Halcottsville tax inequities


To The Editor:
We in Halcottsville are suffering great financial pain from the unfair burden we are bearing with respect to the Roxbury School tax levy we are disproportionately saddled with.

Halcottsville properties are located in the Town of Middletown and are also located within the Roxbury School District. Roxbury’s school tax is levied to Halcottsville pro­p­erty owners by the Town of Roxbury based on assessed values that are determined by the Town of Middletown.
The Town of Middletown recently assessed its properties at 100 percent of their value (Full Value) assigned using property-by-property appraisals. Accordingly, Rox­bury school tax is levied to Halcottsville property owners based on the full value assessments imposed by the Town of Middletown.

It has been many years since the last full-value appraisals were performed with respect to Roxbury properties. Roxbury property owners are taxed on assessed values determined by those antiquated full value appraisals plus any subsequent improvements or, if purchas­ed after the full value appraisals were performed, the original purchase price of the property plus the cost of any subsequent improvements.

An equalization rate set by the Office of Real Property Services (ORPS) is in place to adjust the tax rates associated with each town within the Roxbury School District in an attempt to achieve parity. The equalization rate is determined by ORPS selecting samples of Roxbury prop­erties, valuing them at full value and then comparing the full value amounts deriv­ed to the properties’ assessed values.

 The resulting ratio is then applied to the school tax rate.
With the significant increases in the Roxbury school tax experienced by virtually all Halcottsville property own­ers in 2011 with no corresponding increases in Rox­­­- bury property owners’ school tax, there is evidently an inequality in the Roxbury School District tax levy between property owners in the different townships.  

Inequalities stemming from the Roxbury School District tax levy are also suffered by recent purchasers of proper­ty in Roxbury as their assessed value are stated at the price they paid that is in almost all cases significantly higher than those Roxbury property own­ers that purchased before the outdated full value apprais­als were performed.

To bring equality to all Roxbury School District tax­payers, it is incumbent upon the Town of Roxbury to perform a full value assessment of all properties on its tax rolls and bring everyone in all townships served by the Roxbury School District up to date. Our demand is for the Town of Roxbury to perform appraisals of all proper­ties in Roxbury and adjust assessed values accordingly.     

We have gotten nowhere with presenting our demand to the Roxbury Town board who have an interest in keep­ing things the way they are as their electorate are the very people who benefit from this unfair system.  New arrivals to Roxbury, who in most cases do not vote in Roxbury, are greeted with the welcome strange tax imposed on them as their assessed values are based on the purchase prices they paid vs. the out-of-date full value appraisals enjoyed by the very people that elect the board.  

In Halcottsville we do get a benefit from the equalization rate but that rate is skewed and inaccurate as it is determined using incomplete data.

We are hoping to alleviate our plight by either influenc­ing the Roxbury Town Board to do the right thing and do the full value appraisals or causing Halcottsville to no longer be part of the Roxbury School District. Our next steps are to withhold payment of our taxes and have Roxbury deal with the county who are obligated to make up the deficiency.

Marty Lieberman,