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Old 06-25-2009, 10:43 AM
 
72 posts, read 152,854 times
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$17,000 in taxes for a $600,000 house?? It seems to be getting out of hand. That's what they pay in the best parts of Long Island for a 1.2 M house. It's like you're paying rent, on top of your mortgage. I love Westchester but why is it so high? Any areas where the taxes are not so crazy but still good schools/commute? Also, to what degree have closed sales prices been coming down in the past 6 months and your prediction for the next 12 months?
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Old 06-25-2009, 06:38 PM
 
Location: Westchester County, NY
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Taxes are so sky high because people here are super-hyper about having the best public schools on earth! Yes, there's a clear difference between Scarsdale and say Yonkers or Mt. Vernon, but when I hear people nitpick about Scarsdale vs. Ardsley or Edgemont, etc. I just think of a stuck-up nose. This reason is why housing is so high and why people like me are going to be pushed out soon enough.

Anyway, they have gone down, but still sky-high, this article deals with adjacent Putnam County, but does mention the Westchester numbers: Median sales price of existing home in Putnam falls 31 percent in May | lohud.com | The Journal News
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Old 06-25-2009, 10:22 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by popham View Post
$17,000 in taxes for a $600,000 house?? It seems to be getting out of hand.
Wild, isn't it? And 7 Wishes is right, people are super-hyper about the education system. It seems like no matter what shape the economy is in, towns keep passing those big education budgets. Westchester County charges a tax to maintain it's own multi layers of bureaucracy, and wait till you open your cell phone bill, you'll be giddy with joy.
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Old 06-26-2009, 04:51 AM
 
Location: Westchester County, NY
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockside View Post
Wild, isn't it? And 7 Wishes is right, people are super-hyper about the education system. It seems like no matter what shape the economy is in, towns keep passing those big education budgets. Westchester County charges a tax to maintain it's own multi layers of bureaucracy, and wait till you open your cell phone bill, you'll be giddy with joy.
Even poor towns like Mt. Vernon had a big education budget increase, though admittingly unlike the towns I was thinking about they were in pretty bad shape to start (much lower increase rejected last year, no sports unless people gave donations). But even with their unusual 9% increase (which only won by like 50 votes out of 3000 or something) they laid off some teachers for next year. That ticks me off when their supt. gets $300K (yes, $300K!).
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Old 06-26-2009, 07:15 AM
 
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Maybe he needs to take a paycut. One house in the low $600,000s, in Ardsley the taxes were $27,000. That's twenty seven thousand. There are some of the best school districts in the world on Long Island too, but the taxes don't compare to Westchester's. Maybe it is not about the schools-it's about mismanagement.
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Old 06-26-2009, 08:12 AM
 
Location: Yorktown Heights NY
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One thing to remember is that as house values have dropped so much the tax/price ratio has shifted. That 600K house with 17K taxes would have been worth 900K or even more 2 years ago. 17K in taxes for a 900K house is not that high.

School taxes in Westchester are really high, but I think blaming taxes on people being "super-hyper" about education is silly. Many Westchester districts just passed budgets with no or very minimal increases--and most had to fire staff and cut programs to do so. NY state provides less money to schools than many other states do--leaving more of the costs to the towns. And the basic costs go up every year so maintaining what the school provides costs more and more each year. And the schools are burdened with a huge number of unfunded mandates, things that they are required by law to spend money on every year. If you look at the cost spent per pupil in most Westchester schools, they are healthy but not at all "hyper."

My district just passed a budget that required firing a number of teachers in order to keep the tax increase very low. I almost voted no because I was pissed off at the board for firing anyone--I would gladly pay another 5% in order to maintain the quality of the teaching. Now, if they could provide the same quality for less that would be great--but no district seems able to do that.
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Old 06-26-2009, 09:04 AM
 
295 posts, read 1,453,060 times
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Default my take on taxes

Here's my take:

Yes, taxes are high...but I think there isn't that much of disparity between the best parts of Westchester & LI.

Taxes can also be challenged...I think the PP is correct about the price of the house being 900K or more not too long ago. That house in the low 600s is a real bargain (saw the listing) & is it's probably worth a LOT more...the internal condition of the house is not a factor when looking at tax rates. However, the amount of property the house is on IS.

I make myself feel better about high taxes by taking into account the fact that we are no longer paying 4% city tax.
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Old 06-26-2009, 11:29 AM
 
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I don't think a $600,000 house is a bargain if you have to pay $2300 a month in taxes. You're better off renting at that point.
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Old 06-26-2009, 02:19 PM
 
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I think it's also the size of the school districts. When we lived in VA, the HS were about 1000 kids/grade and you had 4-6 HS per COUNTY. There were plenty of top ranked schools there, with comparable classes sizes, just much bigger in total. In westchester you have tiny schools, in every single town, which all have to have administrative staff and you spread those costs over far fewer students.

Take the same equation and use it for sports. Your teams won't be much bigger and yet the cost is spread over very different sized student bodies.

Our house value in VA was comparable to W'chester but our taxes were 1/3 of what they are here.
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Old 06-27-2009, 09:08 AM
 
Location: Yorktown Heights NY
1,316 posts, read 4,970,773 times
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Another thing to keep in mind about the Tax/Price relationship is that a house with unusually high taxes will often have a lower asking price in order to make up for the taxes. A house in my area recently came on the market for 800K and I was surprised since a somewhat similar house just sold for over 900K. But then I checked the taxes and they are 10K more than than the other house's. So the house is 100K cheaper, which makes up for 10 years of the extra 10K in annual taxes.
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