Letter to the Editor – Unanswered Questions About Reassessment

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To the Editor:

Thank you for your ongoing coverage of the Greenburgh reassessment. Perhaps you might have better luck getting some answers than I have had.

At an almost three-hour, videotaped, public meeting held in the Village of Irvington April 5, Town Assessor Edye McCarthy stated that the reassessment land values involved the creation of “neighborhood delineations”; that those delineations were done by her department, a monitor, and “with real estate agents”; and that “actually some residents helped” in making the neighborhood delineations. She further explained that the land value of identical properties located in different neighborhoods would differ depending upon the particular neighborhood in which a property was located.

At some time thereafter, the Town of Greenburgh posted on its website a multi-colored map identified as “Tyler Map by Neighborhood Breakdown PDF” purportedly showing the Neighborhoods used by Tyler Technologies in arriving at its proposed new assessed valuations.

In an attempt to get some understanding of how and why the assessed values in the Irvington School District rose by an average of 18.02%, or 15% more than the highest average of any other reassessment district while most districts saw an average reduction, I filed a Freedom of Information Law request with the Town. I wanted to learn what I could about the boundaries of the Irvington neighborhoods used in the reassessment process, who were the people who laid out those boundaries, and how the characteristics the various neighborhoods were described for the purpose of reassessing the properties in those neighborhoods. I also asked for an explanation of the color coding of the Neighborhood map so nicely posted on the Town website.

Today I received a response to my FOIL request for documents or records relating to these questions, of which I will quote relevant parts of in full.
Documents or Records giving the meaning of the color coding of the map: “Does Not Exist”; boundaries of Each District: “Enclosed”. The enclosure is only a general promotional piece put out by Tyler about how they would go about delineating neighborhoods, not a description of actual neighborhoods; characteristics of the Individual Neighborhoods: “Does Not Exist”; names and qualifications of the people who made the neighborhood delineations, the times and places they met, and evidence of compliance with the State Open Meetings Law: “Does Not Exist.”

The response ends with the following statement, I believe initialed by the Town Assessor: “As per the requested documentation not supplied, the town is waiting for final report from Tyler Technologies which should [or could, the hand printing is not clear] comply with this FOIL. Upon receipt, I will forward.”

I am sure that this response will remove all concerns of Irvington residents about the reassessment.

Patrick Gilmartin

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