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Village of Saltaire plans analysis of property values, could consider village-wide property reassessment

A home in the Fire Island community of

A home in the Fire Island community of Saltaire Village. The village's board of trustees is planning to launch an analysis of property values. Credit: Newsday / Steve Pfost

After nearly 50 years, the Village of Saltaire board of trustees is planning to launch an analysis of property values. If the data reveals vast inequities in the taxes paid by Fire Island residents, the board will then consider a village-wide property tax reassessment, officials said.

The last tax reassessment was done in 1974, and Mayor John Zaccaro Jr., who brought up the proposals at a recent board meeting, said he is concerned that some properties might be over-assessed while others under-assessed. Homes not assessed correctly could result in some residents paying unequal tax shares, he said.

But village administrator Mario Posillico told Newsday on Thursday that although much time has elapsed since the last reassessment, it doesn’t necessarily mean the current assessments are inaccurate.

"It could be functioning perfectly properly," he said. Many of the approximately 400 homes in the village have been built or renovated since 1974, so those values could be accurate.

Rather than basing assessments off the full market value, Posillico said, Saltaire uses a percentage of the full market value, which is set by New York State.

The last property value analysis was done nearly 15 years ago and is due for a check, Posillico said. The village periodically reviews assessed values to ensure their accuracy and fairness and has held off on doing a widespread reassessment since there hasn't yet been a need, Posillico said.

"I think the assessment role has been solid and the vast majority of the homes in the village have been fairly assessed, but it’s been a few years. We’ll take a look at it again and see if that situation has changed," he said.

The village doesn’t have a central digitized database, and the records are in varying places and need to be organized. The first step will be creating a database of the property assessments and later analyzing the data. Doing so will make future analyses easier, Posillico said.

If the village does move forward with a reassessment, it’s likely still a year or more away.

A reassessment doesn’t change the total amount of taxes collected by a municipality. There is a possibility that despite a reassessment, some homeowners may not see any change in taxes.

If homeowners see an increase in property taxes, they can file a grievance. However, if a homeowner files a grievance and wins, other residents must make up the costs.

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