Riverhead School District

School taxes to drop in Flanders, Riverside, Northampton

New stores like Costco have increased Riverhead's assessed value, which could increase the school tax. (Credit: Tim Gannon)
New stores like Costco have increased Riverhead’s assessed value, which could increase the school tax. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

The annual swing of school taxes from the Riverhead Town portion of the Riverhead School District to Southampton Town has hit the people in Flanders, Riverside and Northampton pretty hard in the past.  But this year, the Southampton Town portion of the district will be getting a break.

The Riverhead School District tax rate in Southampton Town will drop from $14.13 per $1,000 to $13.796 in the tax bills that will go out in December and be due in 2015, according to Southampton Town Tax Receiver Theresa Kiernan.

That works out to a $100 decrease for someone with property assessed at $300,000 and $133 less for someone with property assessed at $400,000.

The amount of overall Riverhead School taxes to be collected in Southampton Town also dropped from $15,937,000 to $15,313,584, she said.

Usually, when Southampton Town’s school taxes drop, Riverhead Town’s rises, and vice versa. For example, tax rate increases in Southampton hit 22 percent in 2008, a year the rate dropped in Riverhead Town.

Riverhead Town officials have yet to determine what the new tax rate in the Riverhead School District will be, according to assessor Laverne Tennenburg, although she said it will likely increase.

“We had a large increase in our tax base, and I think they lowered their assessments again in Flanders,” Ms. Tennenburg said. “So we gained assessment, they lost assessment.”

A number of new stores on Route 58 in the past few years, such as Costco, the new Walmart and the Dick’s shopping center, have increased Riverhead’s assessments.

The other factor that effects the tax swing is the equalization rate, a number assigned to towns by the state to reflect the percentage of real market value the state feels towns assess property at for taxation purposes. The equalization rate is used to establish tax apportionment in districts that are split between more than one municipality.

Southampton did a townwide reassessment recently and has since updated its assessments, so their rate is 100 percent.

Riverhead, on the other hand, last reassessed in 1980, and their rate is currently 15.4 percent.

That means a property with a market value of $100,000 would be assessed at $100,000 in Southampton Town and at $15,400 in Riverhead Town.

In addition to Riverhead and Southampton towns, the Riverhead School District also covers a small section of Brookhaven Town, near the Calverton Hills, Pinehurst Boulevard and Starr Boulevard areas.

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