April 30, 2019
Contact: Kamal Johnson
HUDSON RESIDENTS CONCERNS ABOUT ASSESSMENTS GO UNADDRESSED
HUDSON: After waves of citizen uproar about a property tax reassessment proposal, the Hudson Common Council passed a resolution to halt the process and implement a more fair and transparent property tax valuation. The Hudson Mayor vetoed the resolution and residents worry about their future in Hudson.
It began when the city hired GAR Associates to evaluate properties in Hudson and determine market value for each property for the purpose of determining property tax responsibility. GAR’s determinations were shared with the public in what is called a “preliminary assessment.” Many citizens were given assessments that claimed a doubling or even tripling of value - increases far larger than the average increase for the area, which if approved would lead to a significant increase in property taxes. Residents have expressed concerns that the proposed assessment changes are unfair, flawed, and incomprehensible.
“The GAR recommendations are flawed, seriously flawed,” says Kamal Johnson, 1st Ward Alderman and Mayoral candidate. “Given the short deadline we have until filing the assessments, there isn’t enough time to make corrections and ensure a fair process for Hudson’s residents. We’re better off working from the 2018 evaluations.”
The Council’s resolution authorized the Mayor to reject the preliminary assessment roll and to re-institute the city’s 2018 assessment roll, in order to implement a more fair property tax valuation. On April 19, Mayor Rector vetoed the resolution. On April 24, the Common Council voted in favor of the resolution a second time, which was again vetoed by the Mayor. Two days later, GAR posted its tentative assessment roll, which ends the council’s ability to utilize the 2018 evaluations.
“This is no way to run a government,” says Hudson resident Peter Meyer, reflecting broader concerns about the current administration’s lack of transparency and communication provided to the public during the revaluation process, and the lack of city oversight with the contracted assessment company. Concerns remain about the administration’s insistence on withholding information on comparables used for residential properties by GAR until the last minute; about its refusal to release any valuation data for the over 600 commercial properties in Hudson (including apartment buildings); about the disregard of a petition with over 100 signatures and the problems facing non-English speakers in comprehension of the process; and about the dismissal of citizen concerns in favor of a deeply flawed tax roll.
According to 4th Ward Supervisor Linda Mussmann: “GAR Associates has been inconsistent in every aspect of this process. As one example, GAR limited the comparables that property owners could use for their grievances to ‘Recent Valid Sales’ in 2017 and 2018. However, residents have found cases in which GAR itself used properties as comparables that were last sold over six years ago. These inconsistencies and double standards should raise serious concerns about the quality of this assessment, and our elected officials should act accordingly.”
Individual property owners can grieve the assessments of their own properties. The process is challenging for many homeowners and often people that can afford it, hire a lawyer. However, these individual meetings with the Assessor, or with the Board of Assessment Review, can only solve piecemeal issues. They do not address widespread issues facing homeowners, nor issues for homeowners that fail to file the proper grievance.
“We need new leadership,” says Kamal Johnson. “I’m concerned about the mismanagement of this entire assessment process, and its impact on residents throughout the city. People are not only frustrated about their assessments, but about not being heard. We need leadership that will listen to the concerns of all its residents, and represent them with fairness and transparency.”