Assessments in Albion, Gaines show big jump

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 April 2024 at 8:46 am

(The 2024 numbers are preliminary. The tax rolls will be filed on May 1. Property owners have the option of challenging those assessed values through the grievance process.)

ALBION – The new assessment notices arrived in the mail last week for property owners in Albion and Gaines, and most people are seeing a significant increase.

The two towns and village of Albion last did community-wide reassessments five years ago in 2019. The town boards decide when to do the reassessments and Albion and Gaines contract with the county Real Property Tax Services for the job.

Usually the town-wide reassessments are done every three years. But Albion and Gaines officials pushed it back when real estate sales started to surge in the Covid-19 pandemic, first in 2020. But the real estate sales haven’t come down, said Dawn Allen, the county’s real property tax services director.

The median sale price in Orleans County is up nearly 50 percent from 2019 to 2023, going from $104,900 to $155,000, according to the NYS Association of REALTORS

Orleans County median home prices

  • 2019: $104,900
  • 2020: $117,011 (up 11.5%)
  • 2021: $139,000 (up 18.8%)
  • 2022: $145,200 (up 4.5%)
  • 2023: $155,000 (up 6.7%)

Percent change from 2019 to 2023: (up 47.8%)

Source: NYS Association of REALTORS

Allen and Coleen Pahura, the Albion and Gaines assessor, said home prices have been on the rise in Albion and Gaines, with an even larger percentage increase in the village. And that’s after many years of stagnant prices in the village.

The average prices for single-family homes outside the village in the towns of Albion and Gaines is up 55.5 percent from 2019 to 2023 – from $143,731 to $223,443.

The average prices in the village, while a much lower sales amount, saw a larger percentage increase. The average single-family price was $77,081 in 2019, and that jumped by 80.5 percent in four years to $139,136 in 2023.

Average sales price outside village in Albion & Gaines (single-family homes)

  • 2019: $143,731
  • 2020: $181,378 (up 26.2%)
  • 2021: $181,221 (down 0.1%)
  • 2022: $220,537 (up 21.7%)
  • 2023: $223,443 (up 1.3%)

Total change: up 55.5%

Average sales price inside village (single-family homes)

  • 2019: $77,081
  • 2020: $88,904 (up 15.3%)
  • 2021: $113,808 (up 28.0%)
  • 2022: $135,683 (up 19.2%)
  • 2023: $139,136 (up 2.6 %)

Total change: up 80.5%

The higher sales prices are driving the higher assessments. Pahura and Allen said the assessments need to reflect the market rate for the properties.

They have fielded many calls in the past week from Albion and Gaines property owners, who are concerned about such a dramatic rise in their assessments.

Allen and Pahura explain the assessed value should reflect what the property would sell for on the market today. And the reality is the houses are selling for far more than just a few years ago, whether a small house or a larger one in immaculate condition.

Bigger assessments don’t mean bigger tax bills

Higher assessments don’t necessarily mean taxes are going up, Allen and Pahura noted. For example, Shelby and Ridgeway completed community reassessments last year. When the school tax bills came out in September, the Medina tax rates dropped more than 30 percent in those two towns.

Ridgeway was down from $21.67 to $14.03, while Shelby decreased from $20.59 to $14.03.

Albion Central School is presenting a school budget that keeps the tax levy the same for 2024-25. The district will see lower tax rates due to the bigger tax base when the tax bills come out in September.

Village finally sees some sizable growth in the tax base

The higher assessments will boost a village tax base that has been shrinking in recent years.

The tax base went down 1.08 percent or by $1,663,794 – from $154,457,302 in 2022-23 to $152,723,508 in 2023-24. Most of the loss in tax base was from the assessed value be lowered at the plaza at 318 West Ave. That plaza includes Save-A-Lot, Pro Hardware, Dollar Tree and the vacant spot formerly for Gordman’s.

Going back to 2014, the village tax base was $140,751,091. The number went up 8.5 percent in the following nine years, an average of less than a percent a year. With the new assessments, the tax base is up 40 percent.

The Albion Village Board is working on the 2024-25 budget, but the new assessments won’t take effect until the following year for the village. The new assessments first will be used for the school taxes in September.

Village of Albion Tax Base

2022: $154,457,302

2023: $152,723,508

2024 (before new assessments): $152,793,508

2024 (with preliminary assessments): $214,805,983

Difference: up 40.7 percent or $62,082,475 since 2023

The taxable value for the towns of Gaines and Albion are both up about 40 percent. The increase is a little more in Albion, 41.5 percent, compared to the 37.2 percent in Gaines.

Town of Gaines (county taxable value)

2023:  $134,379,190

2024: $184,351,498

Difference: up 37.2 percent or $49,972,308

Town of Albion (county taxable value)

2023:  $233,211,567

2024: $330,015,604

Difference: up 41.5 percent or $96,804,037

The new assessments aren’t final numbers. They may be tweaked before the May 1 filing deadline, and could see more changes if people go through the grievance process, meeting with the assessor and a Board of Assessment Review.

“It’s going to be a moving target for a while,” Allen said about the final numbers.