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Oct 11, 2019

Buffalo homeowners and Property Tax Coalition fight for lower property taxes

Buffalo homeowners and renters voiced their concerns to the Buffalo Common Council Thursday night over an increase in property taxes following the city’s home value reassessment .

“Our taxes went up 250%, so we have a tax bill that’s gone from $1000 to $2500,” said a nine year Oxford Avenue homeowner.

Over one-third of people living in Buffalo can expect to see an increase in property taxes. Assessed home values went up in each of the city’s 75 tax districts, however, with that growth some feel like they are being left in the dust.

That’s why the Buffalo Property Tax Coalition asked the Common Council to take a second look at its rules for proposed exemptions. The Council’s proposed plan would freeze assessments for:

  • low-income senior citizens
  • living in designated census areas
  • who have owned their home for AT LEAST 25 years

The Buffalo Property Tax Coalition is asking that the exemption be solely income based in order to protect a broader scale of city homeowners.

“It does not protect homeowners on the Upper West Side, homeowners in Oxford, Linwood neighborhoods, it does not protect a huge number of homeowners actually feeling the threat of the reassessment,” said Sarah Wooton of the Partnership for Public Good.

One concern raised in regards to the 25 year ownership requirement was that it would not cover many people who have inherited homes. One resident said she has lived in her current home for 30 years, but would not qualify under the council’s proposed ownership rule based off when she herself inherited it.

Another concern was that the property value assessments were only done from outside of the homes; therefore, it does not take into account things like an outdated kitchen or bathroom, which could lower the price of a home.

If you think your new assessment is wrong, you can take part in several informal reviews being held across the city. Registration for those is on a first-come, first-served basis. It ends on October 9th.

Published by WKBW-TV, Oct. 3, 2019

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