July 8, 2008

Understanding Equalization Rates In Lewiston

Checking both the Niagara County Republican and the Niagara County Democratic party websites as I periodically do, I came across a biography of Jerry Mosey and his platform as a candidate for the Niagara County Legislature's 12th District. In his statement, Mosey states that concerning property taxes, in the “2007 county budget, Lewiston’s rate of increase was around 3.3%, higher than almost anywhere else in the county. That’s unacceptable, plain and simple.”

Here's the problem with that statement: It isn’t that plain and simple. Mosey apparently doesn’t possess even a rudimentary understanding of how taxes are levied in this county. Nor does he possess a basic understanding of equalization rates. Now, that's okay for the average person. But if you are a candidate for office, you damn well better have a basic comprehension of these topics before you open your mouth. Mosey obviously does not.

Niagara County’s tax rate went down this year. Niagara County’s tax levy also went down. So why did Lewiston’s County tax rate go up? Is it because the County decided that Lewiston should pay more as some sort of vindictive plot against the residents of Lewiston? Of course not.

The reality is that the County tax rate went up for the residents of Lewiston because Lewiston does not assess its properties at full value. Lewiston assesses its properties lower than other municipalities, so in order to keep the amounts of school and county taxes being paid by taxpayers across the County equitable, the amounts need to be equalized or adjusted and Lewiston ends up paying more as a percentage by virtue of its refusal to assess at 100%.

If taxes weren’t adjusted, a municipality could say “all properties in our town are worth $1.00 because we say so.” In that scenario, all property owners in that town would pay school and county taxes as a percentage of $1.00 while everybody else assessed at full value would pay the bulk of the tax burden. Fortunately, the Office of Real Property Services is a lot sharper than Jerry Mosey and refuses to allow this to happen.

If Mosey wants to fix his problem with the laws of percentages and their impact on Lewiston, he needs to take it up with Lewiston Supervisor Fred Newlin, not by making misleading and inaccurate remarks as a candidate for office.

16 comments:

Joe Niagara said...

Hobbes nice try, its good to see you still can lie like a rug. Now the same thing happened in Niagara Falls our rates also went up because of this same reason. But can you tell me that the houses in Niagara Falls went up in valve? Assessments are not what a house is worth, you could never get the assessed valve out of any houses in Niagara Falls unless you live one of the 23 people who live on the water front. Again this blog just caters to the lilly white wheatfield republicans. This is why Tom D. wants to spend his money to take back a seat in albany, even like you said it may not be there after another census, because if we don't the republicans will gerrymander more crazy districts just to keep their buddies working.

Anonymous said...

Mosey only made a statement from the Republican Party handbook. See Mosey made a truthful statement just didn’t give all of the facts. If you look into that statement, it is the political guidelines for success, hence the Niagara County Republican Party. Only tell the people what you want them to know, don’t tell them everything.

Anonymous said...

The gazette in today's issue say's Niagara County's new propagana minister is not a polical plum job for one of the GOP cronies, but we believe you hobbes who said that the paper never ever prints the truth. Maybe his office will be next to the homeland security's, all we now is for George to wear the uniform.

Fawn Leibowitz said...

Now I get it. It's Hobbes fault that Mosey inaccurately portrayed the county taxes in Lewiston going up as the county's fault, without mentioning the fact that due to Lewiston underassessing their properties, that is the single reason for Lewiston resident's taxes going up. Damn you Hobbes, stop telling the truth! It's pissing off Rivarea!

Pete M said...

Joe Niagara, if I wrote what you wrote, I wouldn't use my real name either. It's not a lie, it's reality. The county taxes you pay are impacted by your local municipality's equalization rate. It doesn't matter if your assessed value goes up or down. Of course the houses in NF have gone down in value, it's a shit hole. But that has nothing to do with the topic at hand.

Joe Niagara said...

@Pete, then why are our taxes going up when hobbes claims that its going down? That is not a lie? The GOP has found a way now to tax shitholes higher than your lilly white wheatfield bigots.

George Lodick said...

Property in Niagara Falls is assessed at 93% of market value. Wheatfield, Lewiston and every other municipality have differing rates with some at 100% of market value. When property taxes are assessed across local lines, the equalization rate is used to try to make things as fair as possible.

As to joe niagara and his questions about the value of houses in niagara falls, the assessed values have been trending upward (they fell last year, but it seems that in an election year they drop for some reason???) over the past 7 budgets. The fact that a comparable property in Lewiston or Wheatfield will sell/assess for more than a NF property is affected by numerous factors, not just the "lilly white" ones.

A number of houses on Lewiston Road in NF have gone on the market and sold in a relatively short times, so I'd guess the market isn't terrible (it had to have been overpriced in first place.

Last, there are a number of elected officials from both parties that really don't understand property taxes. Candidates oversimplifying happens for at least two reasons. The first, of course, is that they don't understand. It happens more than you'd think. The second is that the voters don't and/or don't care to understand. I wish more voters took the time to understand issues, but how many really have the time dig deeper?

Anonymous said...

The issue of assessment is very interesting. People want the value of their home to increase. But if the value of their home does increase, they become irate with the local assessor because their portion of the tax burden will also increase. And if everyone's property value increased, everyone's taxes as a percentage of the value of their home would go down.

Joe Niagara said...

Sure George, but most homes sell for 30-50,000 range even in Lasalle, where the homes are assessed at 75,000 plus. Using percentages and statics, these are tools of thieves. Please explain how Niagara Falls gets lumped into Rochester and Buffalo's district during the last census? That was not to keep the color out of wheatfield was it? Would not it make better sense to keep the districts local and not draw them across 400 miles and 5 differnet counties. All that just to keep the colored from 3 cities for gaining any kind of say in local government.

George Lodick said...

The key with assessments is to have all properties increase in value by market conditions and then to restrict spending growth(cuts are even better).

Niagara Falls get "lumped" in with others because of size. It's not a conspiracy, really. Niagara Falls has 2 African-American council members and its second African-American City Administrator. That sounds like "say" in local government. And, it didn't need to be gerrymandered like Renee Kimble's self-made County Legislative District 2.

As for statistics, sure they can be intrepreted but I'd rather base my decisions and opinions on something that approaches fact rather than some bizarre feelings.

George Lodick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pirate's code said...

I'll probably be sorry I asked, but I can't help myself...

joe niagara, please explain your idea that including NF with Buff and Roch in census data keeps "the color out of wheatfield."

While I agee fully with geo. lodick's clear description of equalization and assessment, I would offer one side thought -- based only on opinion. It seems to me that local assessors are myopically focused on properties where the value clearly has increased. Because, after all, there are places in Niagara County municipalities where property values have gone down. Have the assessments gone down accordingly? Especially in the communities that claim to value based on market rates?

In the end, though, I agree that if all assessing were done on full market value, the need for equalization rates would go away, and candidates for office could find some other issue to screw up.

Anonymous said...

I think I read somewhere that the county is considering changing assessments to county-wide assessments and getting rid of the local assessors. Wouldn't that solve this whole problem?

Anonymous said...

I am fed up with politicians making promises they can not deliver. Jerry Mosey needs to tell people what his plan is to bring Lewistons taxes in line with every other town. "This is unacceptable" is NOT a plan, I repeat, NOT a plan. So you can be the candidate that didn't seem to grasp this issue and blame others or you can badger Fred Newlin and actually fix it. Which is it going to be?

Anonymous said...

This line is absolutley hysterical for its stupidity. Jerry Mosey ran for office LAST YEAR---for County Legislature against an ineffective moron by the name of John Cerreto--who is so inept he was kicked off of the Democratic Committee a few years ago! He now serves as George Maziarz's toilet tissue in a political make-shift job with a supervisor's title.

Are the republicans really this dim-witted and slow that it has taken them a whole year to try to comprehend a statement?? I guess so--but then Ceretto will never be able to begin to comprehend it at all---let's have a proclamation issued on that!

Last I heard--Jerry Mosey isn't runinig for anything right now! Lack of information is harmful.

craig t said...

Then his campaign platform should have been taken off the NC Dem website, moron. The question isn't "did it take the GOP a year to comprehend a statement" it should be did it take the Dems a whole year to update their website, get some new stuff up there and get the old, loser candidate profiles off? The whole crew of loser candidates still have profiles on the site. Once again, great job, Dan. Way to be on top of things so we have another reason to be criticized.