Clifton claims victory on sites
A settlement between the town of Clifton and the state over three years of challenged assessments on waterfront property is being hailed as a win for the town.
Join the discussion below, or Read more at Watertown Daily Times.
#1 Jan 10, 2010
There is a tipping point. Regardless of assessed value versus real value the reality is the lakefront owners pay a lot of tax every year to own a property on the lake. If that number goes up too much there are side effects.
As an example--a property assessment of 215,000 equates to about 5,000 per year in taxes. Maybe the owner could sell the property for 375,000. So what? 5,000 is still a lot of money to pay every year for something that is worth 375,000.
If you change the tax on the property to the real property value amount of 375,000 the owner would then pay 8700 per year in tax.
This would stress the market. Some owners would be forced to sell. Just last year a long-time lakefront owner sold because he was an 80+ year old man living on a fixed income and a WWII veteran. He bought his property decades ago and was a man of humble means. To generalize and paint the lakefront property owners as some sort of landed gentry, a class of people who can afford to pay more because they are all wealthy is nothing but rubbish. In fact many of them have to stretch and sacrifice to make ends meet--but it's their choice to own the land. Snider needs to be careful what he does because he can screw up a good thing for the town.
If you raise taxes too much you drive prices down because the more you tax these properties the less value they have as an investment. Smart people are apt to put their money elsewhere--someplace where the cost of ownership is less.
If the vacation home haters win, Clifton's economic blight will be even worse than it is today. If you want to accelerate this economic downfall--raise taxes.
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