Clarendon hears concern from residents over rising assessments
Town officials say higher assessments don’t necessarily mean higher tax bills
CLARENDON – About 100 residents packed the Town Hall on Wednesday evening to share their concerns that much higher assessments will result in bigger tax bills and drive some residents out of their homes.
Town officials acknowledged the real estate market is “crazy” with homes selling for tens of thousands of dollars above their assessed values. In Clarendon, there have been 146 sales over the past three years.
There are about 1,000 properties in the town. Clarendon does a reassessment every three years and 2022 is the cycle for reassessing the properties. Eight of the 10 towns in Orleans are doing reassessments this year.
In Clarendon, the average assessment increased 25 percent, Town Assessor Robert Criddle told the crowd at town hall.
Criddle noted that the median price for homes in Orleans County is up 68.5 percent in four years, jumping from $81,000 in 2017 to $136,500 in 2021, according to data from the Greater Rochester Association of Realtors.
In Clarendon’s 14470 zip code, the median sale price went up 10.7 percent in 2021, Criddle said, using data from the Association of Realtors.
“The market has changed,” he said. “Right now the assessments are well below market value.”
The higher assessments won’t necessarily mean a bigger tax bill for residents, said Town Supervisor Richard Moy.
“We didn’t raise your taxes,” Moy told the crowd. “We raised your assessments.”
A larger tax base should drive down the tax rate. But that didn’t ease the concerns of many of the residents who attended the meeting on Wednesday.
Residents said they fear much higher tax bills and that will strain their budgets that are already hit with rising gas prices and inflation.
One resident said his assessment increased from $58,000 to $90,000 despite no improvements on the house.
“I’d be lucky to get 40 (thousand) for the place,” he said.
Criddle said those who don’t think their assessment accurately reflects market value can call assessor’s office at (585) 638-6371, ext. 103. They can question the value and can go through a grievance process. He encouraged them to do some research on comparable sales.
He acknowledged the shock with some the prices houses are going for – way above their assessed values.
“I’ve been doing this for 30 years,” Criddle said about his career as assessor. “The market has been crazy. There’s no question about it.”