Tax grievances drop in Riverhead Town

Tuesday was tax grievance day statewide, and in Riverhead Town only 10 people actually showed up to protest tax assessments in person, but about 1,800 tax grievances have been filed, according to Laverne Tennenberg, chair of the town’s assessors. That number is down from last year’s 1,965 grievances, and marks the first time in several years that the number of grievances decreased, she said. In 2003, only 406 grievances were filed.

“They’ve been increasing in the past few years since the market dropped, because they think that if their property values drop, their assessment should, too,” Ms. Tennenberg said.

The drop in the market is reflected in the equalization rate, a number assigned by the state, she said. The grievances are considered by a three-member Board of Assessment Review, which is independent of the town assessors office and issues rulings on each case.

The majority of the grievances are filed by professional tax grievance companies. Last year, 44 percent of the grievances were later withdrawn and about 28 percent reached settlements, Ms. Tennenberg said. Many of the others are awaiting decisions. The final town tax roll, by law, is due on July 1.

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