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Susan Kelty Law: Market Value Assessments Used by Village Hall PDF Print Email

Written by Susan Kelty Law, Associate Broker, Houlihan Lawrence


Jan. 7, 2015: In the last eight years, the subject of market value tax assessments has been a hot-button issue for many village homeowners. Some who saw dramatic increases in their taxes as a result of the 2006-2007 reassessment fought to get them reduced, and many were successful, especially after the market decline of 2009. But this year, while many village residents will be happy to hear that median home prices have risen substantially in the last 12 months (about 9 percent for single-family homes and 22 percent for townhouses), Bronxville's market value assessment model actually mandates that those market gains be reflected in the 2015 tax rolls. 

With so many municipalities in Westchester now converting to market value assessment systems, this article attempts to review Bronxville's relatively new system and how it is evolving as market conditions improve.

According to Village Assessor Gerry Iagallo, Bronxville's new tax roll will be published by February 1, 2015. Although he cannot say which homes will see an increase in their assessments, or by how much, Iagallo is predicting an average increase of 11 percent for single-family homes, including townhouses. However, given the way the market value assessment system works, an increase in assessment does not necessarily mean that the tax paid will go up by the same 11 percent.

The good news, according to Iagallo, is that if school and village budgets stay about the same, the actual tax rate per thousand dollars of assessed value should go down because of the increased tax base (this past year's rate was $17 per $1,000 of assessed value). This means that for those who do not receive an increased assessment in 2015, if budgets are constant, their tax liability will actually be decreased.  

And for those whose assessments go up, they will not see the same percentage of increase in taxes owed. Iagallo characterized this new assessment increase as a necessary step in response to a rising market and encourages those who disagree with their assessment this year to avail themselves of the grievance process by filing objections within the prescribed two-week period before February 17, 2015. 

Market Value Assessment Background: In 2006, Bronxville converted to a fair market value approach in order to eliminate the inequities of our old assessment system. Under the old system, newer single-family homes were assessed at higher levels than many older homes with much higher market values, and these under-assessed homes held onto that benefit in perpetuity. The conversion to a fair market value system was expensive--it required the village to individually appraise the market value of each single-family property.

The new assessments were then implemented in 2007, which turned out to be the height of the market for median single-family prices in the village.

Under the current market value system, our assessor is responsible for periodically reviewing the village tax rolls with the goal of keeping assessments at 100 percent of fair market value. While some "market value" towns choose to adjust assessments on a yearly basis, Bronxville's model calls for a revolving assessment readjustment only when the "coefficient of dispersion" (the "COD," or error factor) exceeds 12 percent. The COD is essentially the differential between tax assessments and median market value prices (in the assessment world, a COD of 10 percent or lower is considered ideal).

It is notable that Bronxville is the only jurisdiction in the state that actually wrote the 12 percent COD into its assessment law as a mandate. As a result, unlike other towns that lagged behind the market on their assessment rolls, Bronxville stayed relatively current even in the downturn of 2009. That year, our village assessor took what Mayor Mary Marvin called "prophylactic action" and lowered assessed values by 7 percent across the board to reflect the declining market.

According to assessor Iagallo, while the fair market value system was initially expensive for the village to implement, in a few short years it has more than paid for itself. Since 2005, the increased accuracy of our tax rolls has decreased the number of small claims/ tax certiorari claims (which are very expensive to defend) by about 75 percent. Even coops and condos (which are assessed differently under state law as "commercial" property) have reduced the number of certiorari claims filed on those properties. This article is limited to discussion of single-family home assessments.

Current State of Our Single-Family Tax Assessment Roll: In early 2013, when Bronxville's COD on single-family homes was at 10.5 percent, one of the lowest in the county, our village trustees unanimously adopted a resolution that property values in the village be reviewed either when the COD exceeded 12 percent or, alternatively, every three years when the board thought a review would be beneficial. Pursuant to this resolution, starting in 2013 Iagallo was charged by the trustees with reviewing one-third of the village properties each year for the following three years. As a result, about one-third of village homes had their assessments re-examined last year and increased on average by about 5 percent.

This past year, however, when Iagallo started on year two of the three-year review cycle, he discovered that the still-rising real estate market had pushed the COD up above 12 percent. In order to comply with the mandate, Iagallo said that the "one-third-every-year" approach had to be discarded in favor of the assessor's taking immediate action to reduce the COD. For this reason, Iagallo and his team embarked on a review of the remaining two-thirds of single-family homes this past fall (the ones that were not increased last year). The new assessments are the ones that will be published by February 1, 2015.

While Iagallo cannot estimate at this point how many homes will see increases in their assessments in 2015, he confirmed that most of the two-thirds of single-family homes reviewed will see increases, as well as some additional homes that either underwent capital improvements or sold in 2014 for amounts higher than their assessed values. The rest will stay the same or go down. Multiple Listing Service (MLS) data show that about 85 percent of the 80 townhouses and single-family homes that sold in 2014 sold for varying amounts over their assessed values.

According to Iagallo, the expected $150,000,000 increase in assessments for 2015 translates into an increase of the current total tax base from $2.81 billion to about $2.96 billion. His aim this year is to bring the village assessment COD down to 12 percent or lower. In this way, he hopes that the assessment process can stabilize for a longer period of time.

Like so many of our village officials, assessor Iagallo is always approachable, and he encourages homeowners to ask him any questions they may have about the process. 

Pictured here: Midland Avenue headed north.

Photo by A. Warner


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Real Estate Directory

Bronxville Overview

Bronxville is a quaint village (one square mile) located just 16 miles north of midtown Manhattan (roughly 30 minutes on the train) and has a population of approximately 6,500. It is known as a premier community with an excellent public school (K-12) and easy access to Manhattan. Bronxville offers many amenities including an attractive business district, a 400-bed acute care hospital (New York Presbyterian/Lawrence Hospital), public paddle and tennis courts, fine dining at local restaurants, two private country clubs and a community library.

While the earliest settlers of Bronxville date back to the first half of the 18th century, the history of the modern suburb of Bronxville began in 1890 when William Van Duzer Lawrence purchased a farm and commissioned the architect, William A. Bates, to design a planned community of houses for well-known artists and professionals that became a thriving art colony. This community, now called Lawrence Park, is listed on the National register of Historic Places and many of the homes still have artists’ studios. A neighborhood association within Lawrence Park called “The Hilltop Association” keeps this heritage alive with art shows and other events for neighbors.

Bronxville offers many charming neighborhoods as well as a variety of living options for residents including single family homes, town houses, cooperatives and condominiums. One of the chief benefits of living in “the village” is that your children can attend the Bronxville School.

The Bronxville postal zone (known as “Bronxville PO”) includes the village of Bronxville as well as the Chester Heights section of Eastchester, parts of Tuckahoe and the Lawrence Park West, Cedar Knolls, Armour Villa and Longvale sections of Yonkers. Many of these areas have their own distinct character. For instance, the Armour Villa section has many historic homes and even has its own newsletter called “The Villa Voice” which reports on neighborhood news.


Real Estate Companies

Park Sterling Realty
17 1/2 Park Place Bronxville, New York 10708

Houlihan Lawrence
4 Valley Road Bronxville, New York 10708

Houlihan & O'Malley
133 Parkway Road Bronxville, New York 10708

Julia B Fee Sotheby's International Realty
2 Park Place
Bronxville, NY 10708





Real Estate - Attorneys

Bertine, Hufnagel, Headley, Zeltner, Drummond & Dohn LLP

Established in 1929, Bertine, Hufnagel is "a general practice law firm, offering clients expertise in both individual and commercial matters." Their broad range of services include the following: Wills, Estate
Planning and Taxation, Probate and Estate Administration, Elder Law, Real Estate (commercial, residential, condominiums and cooperatives), Commercial Law and Transactions, Litigation and Banking Law.

700 White Plains Road
Suite 237
Scarsdale, New York 10583
(914) 472 7700
(914) 472 1946 (fax)

Suzanne M. Bloomer
Wills, Trusts, Estates and Real Estate

85 Pondfield Road
Bronxville, New York 10708

George R. Mayer, Esq.
65 Pondfield Road #6 Bronxville, New York 10708
914-337-3033 (tel)
914-337-1038 (fax)


Griffin, Coogan, Sulzer & Horgan, P.C.

Attorneys and Counselors at Law

Located in Bronxville, New York, Griffin, Coogan, Sulzer & Horgan, P.C. takes great pride in providing our clients with comprehensive, high quality legal services in a responsive manner. The firm concentrates its practice in real estate law with a primary focus on issues relating to real estate tax litigation (also known as tax certiorari), real estate transactions, valuation law, real property taxation and tax planning and real property tax exemption matters throughout New York State.

The firm serves as general counsel for several local cooperatives and represents clients in various issues relating to wills, trusts and estate planning.

51 Pondfield Road
Bronxville, NY 10708
(914) 961-1300

Kim O'Toole, Esq.
80 Sagamore Road
914-961-6175 (tel)
914-337-3292 (fax)

Mary Anne O'Callahan, Esq.
32 Gramatan Court Bronxville, New York 10708
914-779-3558 (tel)
914-779-5182 (fax)

Nobile, Magarian & DiSalvo

We are hardworking and dedicated attorneys who, combined, have more than 150 years of experience delivering quality legal advice. Our cutting edge is our ability to enter both the conference room and the courtroom with strength. Our law firm provides legal representation and counsel for both individual and business clients on issues related to estate planning and administration, real estate law, litigation, and business law.  Our practice areas include: Commercial Litigation, Business Law, Real Estate, Wills, Estate Planning, Trusts, Estate Administration, Living Wills, Health Care Proxies, Powers of Attorney, Not For Profits, and Employment Law.

111 Kraft Avenue

Bronxville, NY 10708



Veneruso, Curto, Schwartz & Curto, LLP

Veneruso, Curto, Schwartz & Curto is dedicated to providing businesses and individuals with exceptional legal services customized to each client's needs and objectives.  Practice areas include litigation, real estate, not for profit, wills and estate planning, land use and zoning, business and corporate, cooperative and condominium and real estate tax assessment litigation.

The Hudson Valley Bank Building

35 East Grassy Sprain Road, Suite 400

Yonkers, New York 10710



Peter W. Williamson, Esq.
141 Parkway Road
914-337-3434 (tel)
914-337-3392 (fax)

Real Estate - Insurance Agents

Leslie Homer
71 North Avenue New Rochelle, New York 10801

John L. Vorbach Company, Inc. Insurance Brokers
Manhattan Media & Technology Center
65 Broadway, 9th Floor
New York, New York 10006
212-294-4900 x 112

Linda Graef Jones, Private Client Sales Executive
Personal Risk Management Solutions
Focuses solely on personal insurance and
provides unique, customized solutions that save
money and time and create peace of mind.

6 East 43rd Street
New York, New York 10017

Palmer-Tanno Agency, Inc.
Independent Insurance Agents since 1948

Greg Tanno
141 Parkway Road, Suite #11
Bronxville, New York 10708

Ranieri Insurance Agency
Auto, Home, Business & Life
Over 50 Years' Experience

Paul D. Ranieri, CPCU
457 Palmer Road
Yonkers, NY

Insurance and Risk Management Solutions
Since 1910
65 Main Street
Tuckahoe, New York 10707



Home Improvement Directory

Decorators and Interior Design


Edwin Gemes, Ltd.


Madeline Eckett Oden Interiors

61 Beechmont Avenue
Bronxville, New York 10708

Jane Mitchell

9 The Byway

Samuel Botero Associates, Inc.

215 East 58th Street
Suite 6B
New York, New York 10022

Sandra Steele Schneider Interiors

70 Burkewood Road
Mount Vernon, New York 10552

Serendipity Interior Design, LLC

Catherine Wyner
203-846-0809 or 203-637-9266

Shannon Interiors LTD.

Kelly Shannon Jelensperger, President
81 Pondfield Road #344
Bronxville, New York 10708
914-793-1629 (O)
914-953-7584 (C)
914-793-2195 (F)

Design Professionals


Dean Davis

2 Park Place
Bronxville, New York

Michael Davis

435 Hudson Street, 8th Floor
New York, New York 10014

Charles Hilton

Hilton Vanderhorn Associates
31 East Elm Street
Greenwich, Ct. 06830
203-862-9011 (tel) 203-862-9196 (fax)

Scott Koniecko Architects

80 8th Avenue
Suite 1600
New York, New York 10011
212-620-3924 (tel)
212-620-7640 (fax)

Maggie Marrone Architects


Peter Pennoyer Architects

432 Park Avenue South, 11th Floor
New York, New York 10016

Radoslav Opacic Architects

24 N. Astor
Irvington, New York 10533
914-591-4306 (tel)914-591-4308 (fax)

Landscape Architects

Renee Byers, Landscape Architect P.C.

10 Avon Road
Bronxville, New York 10708


Civil Engineer
Brett Auerhahn P.E.

Home Maintenance & Improvement

Chimney Sweep

Egan Chimney Sweeps



Keating Electric & Technologies

115 Wall Street
Valhalla, New York 10595

Lippolis Electric

445 5th Avenue
Pelham, New York 10803

James A. Stone

96 Congress Street
Harrison, New York 10528

White Electric, Inc.

128 Fulton Street
White Plains, New York


General Contractors

Vincent Franco
R-Men Contracting
179 Summerfield Street
Scarsdale, New York 10583
914-472-7007 (tel) 914-472-0451 (fax)

Arthur Lange Inc.

841 Tuckahoe Road
P.O. Box 993
Bronxville, New York 10708
914-337-4422 (tel) 914-395-0471 (fax)

Heating & Cooling

Absolute Comfort & Temperature Control Inc.

Mr. Paul Gomprecht, President

Richards Conditioning Corp.

70 Marbledale Road
Tuckahoe, New York 10707

Besson Oil Inc.

140 Marbledale Road
Tuckahoe, New York 10707

Iron Work

Debra Coddington

Arrowsmith Forge
3788 Rte 44
Millbrook, New York


LMC Safe, Lock & Key

Luigi M. Cattzia II


All Colors Painting Co.

69 Delaware Road
Yonkers, New York 10710
(Johnnie & Joey)

Mateus Neto Painting Co.

95 Chase Avenue
Yonkers, New York 10703

Pick up and take away

Robert Rabsey

Technical Help

Computer, Network & Internet Services

Gerry McLoughlin
Computer Tutor @ PCI

Geeks on Wheels

Dylan Hall
Harrison, New York

The Computer Nerds, Inc.

PO Box 31
Bronxville, New York 10708

TV & Steroes

AV Design

130 East Main Street
Elmsford, New York 10523

Landscape Design & Maintenance


Maureen Hackett

Hackett Landscape Design Inc.
212-768-4242 and 917-494-8084

Renee Byers, Landscape Architech P.C.

10 Avon Road
Bronxville, New York 10708


Frank Bulfamonte & Sons, Inc.

26 Circuit Road
New Rochelle, New York 10805

Land Productions Inc.

360 Adams Street
Bedford Hills, New York

Lieb's Nursery & Garden Center

1 Askins Place
New Rochelle, New York 10801


Tryforos and Pernice

73 Pondfield Road
Bronxville, New York

Plants & Nurseries

Lieb's Nursery & Garden Center
1 Askins Place
New Rochelle, New York 10801

Rosedale Nurseries

51 Saw Mill River Road, Route 9A
Hawthorne, New York 10532-1598

Sprainbrook Nursery, Inc.

448 Underhill Road
Scarsdale, New York 10583

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