Westchester's median property tax bill tops $10K

A view of Yonkers from Dickinson and Roberts A view of Yonkers from Dickinson and Roberts avenues. (May 23, 2012) Photo Credit: Faye Murman

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Westchester's median annual property tax bill breached the five-figure mark in 2011, reaching $10,000 for the first time, according to estimates released Thursday by the Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

Tax rates for Hudson Valley counties are among the highest in the nation and property taxes continued their climb in 2011, the statistics show.

Rockland's median tax rate was $9,376, followed by Putnam at $7,851, Orange at $6,235, Dutchess at $5,692 and Ulster at $5,007.

Though Westchester had the heaviest tax load, its households did not have the highest income, according to the census data. That distinction went to Putnam, whose households had an average income of $127,014 and a median income of $106,948 in 2011. The median is the middle figure in a list.

Joseph Czajka, vice president for research and grants at Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress, a not-for-profit policy, planning and advocacy group, said the region's property taxes exact a heavy price.

"The real estate market has not come back here in the Hudson Valley," he said. "One of the biggest barriers is stringent lending criteria. On top of that, our taxes are very high. In many cases, people are paying more for their school and real estate taxes than the actual mortgage."

Westchester households had an average income of $124,123 and a median income of $77,006. The discrepancy can be attributed to a relatively small number of extremely high income households that pull the average up.

Income figures for Orange were $84,167 (mean) and $66,224 (median). Numbers for Rockland were $104,111 and $82,217; Dutchess, $84,881 and $67,727, and Ulster, $71,743 and $55,006.

In 2010, Westchester's median property tax bill of $9,945 was tops in the nation, according to a ranking of Census Bureau data by the Tax Foundation, a Washington-based research group. Westchester was followed by Long Island's Nassau County at $9,289. Rockland came in at No. 4 with $8,861 and Putnam was No. 11 at $7,841. The bill for other Hudson Valley counties was: Orange, $5,940; Dutchess, $5,282, and Ulster, $4,468.

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