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Scarsdale Revaluation Debated on NPR

Marketplace-radioDiscontent among the well-heeled about the Scarsdale Tax Revaluation has now gone national. David Bunzel, a Murray Hill resident who is leading a challenge to the revaluation along with Robert Berg, who supported Scarsdale's first revaluation in 45 years, were interviewed on the Marketplace Program on National Public Radio on September 3. You can listen to the interview here:

On the broadcast Bunzel says that the 30% increase in his assessment is not fair and that his group is challenging the new assessments. Records show that the valuation on his house on Sherbrooke Road rose from $3,092,000 prior to the revaluation to $4,124,000 afterwards. Taxes before the revaluation were $76,367 and in 2015 could rise by $18,000 to an estimated $94,000.

However, Bob Berg who championed the reassessment says, "Who has sympathy for these people? ... They were getting a great deal that we were paying for, for 45 years in many cases."

Turns out that one of the members of the Scarsdale Board of Trustees does have sympathy for the cause. Trustee Marc Samwick has filed his own tax grievance. Because of the VIllage's conflict of interest policy, and a long-standing agreement between the Village of Scarsdale and the Town of Mamaroneck for situations like this, Samwick's grievance will be handled by the Town of Mamaroneck Assesor rather than Scarsdale's assessor, Nanette Albanese

We asked Samwick to comment and he sent us the following: "I am filing a tax grievance in the ordinary course with no agenda other than to have my assessment better reflect the value of my home. It is my understanding that the Village is following standard operating procedure by having a Village Trustee's grievance heard by the Town of Mamaroneck."

However, Samwick has far less at stake then Bunzel. Samwick's home valuation rose about $300,000 in the revaluation, taking his taxes from $26,155 in 2014 to an estimated $31,409 for 2015. If he is successful with his grievance, he stands to gain a few thousand dollars a year.

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#8 lazy bureaucrats 2014-09-16 12:23
The revals SHOULD be below market value and are not at all related to current sale prices. The ideas is that the values o the property rolls should be equally assessed, meaning if most of the properties are assessed at a three year old value (which they were because the comes used were 2010-2013 -- so on average that's what we're talking about) then ALL The properties should be assessed at those three year old values. If your property is the value it would sell today in 2014, then it was unfairly over-assessed, because all the other properties were assessed as what they would have sold in 2011-12. Yes, they are supposed to be at 100% market value but since they were comped against old sales prices, they are not. They are hoping it will all be fixed moving forward (funny, right?)
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#7 reval question 2014-09-08 08:53
Not an expert but sale prices listed here for the past few months are certainly higher then the new revals . There may be a few exceptions but as a whole it looks like the new revals on higher priced homes are still below mkt value!!!
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#6 guest 2014-09-05 09:49
It appears that this article was modified, removing the section suggesting one of the trustees was "breaking ranks" by filing his own grievance. The fact that his own grievance is even mentioned at all in the article as implicit "support" for those questioning the fairness of the revaluation still doesn't make sense. Can't he think that Tyler did a great job in general but still have an issue with his own personal assessment? Why does his filing a grievance for his own house suggest he has "sympathy" for a Murray hill resident who went from $3mm to $4mm?
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#5 Greenacres Resident 2014-09-04 21:20
I agree with #3 by guest. Forget the revaluation for a minute and see if your house will sell for its new value. My house has been valued $300K more than the previous value and I cannot even get the previous value for my house. :sad:
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#4 Setting the Record Straight! 2014-09-04 10:43
It's totally unfair to even suggest that Trustee Samwick is "breaking ranks" with the Board of Trustees on revaluation by filing his own grievance. Trustee Samwick simply thinks that Tyler valued his property too high -- just like the 975 or so property owners who also filed grievances this year. Trustee Samwick joined the Board this April at the end of the revaluation process. To read anything into Samwick's decision to file a grievance other than what he says is plain silly. Also, the Village has not "agreed to retain attorneys from Mamaroneck to represent them in the grievance proceeding." For many years, Scarsdale and Mamaroneck have had an agreement that where an official who lives in Scarsdale files a property tax grievance, to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest, the Town of Mamaroneck's Assessor will deal with that particular grievance. In the normal course, the Town of Mamaroneck Assessor will deal with Trustee Samwick's grievance by either settling it or going to trial before the judge in the SCAR proceeding. In most cases, the Town Assessor does not retain an attorney. Nothing out of the ordinary is going on here.
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#3 guest 2014-09-04 09:57
This revalaution fairness question is simple: Can david bunzel sell his house right now for 4.124mm? His old valuation is completely irrelevant.
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#2 guest 2014-09-04 09:53
How is what sanwick did "breaking ranks" with the board? "Breaking ranks" implies that he has come out and said the entire revaluation process was unfair, etc. He simply filed a grievance on Tyler's assesent on his own house, which everyone in the entire state of NY is allowed to do. If the position of the board was that Tyler's numbers are 100% accurate for every house in the entire town, then yes, this would be breaking ranks. But even tyler would tell you that they are not perfect. That's the whole point of the grievance system.
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#1 Stay Classy Scarsdale 2014-09-04 06:10
Imagine how this segment of the show would have been heard out in the real world. We all must look like a bunch of whiners. Amazing that anyone will ever want to move out here when this whole mess is over.
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