CHEEKTOWAGA, NY (WIVB) — Homeowners in Cheektowaga are voicing concerns about the skyrocketing tax bills they’re receiving just this week.
Dozens of Cheektowaga homeowners gave city officials a deafening ear Tuesday night.
Just a year after their homes were re-evaluated, which resulted in higher property taxes for many of them, they were shocked to hear the news that their homes were being re-evaluated.
Rising home values can be a double-edged sword for homeowners. Your home may be worth more, but that can also result in higher property taxes. Cheektowaga homeowners only got their property reappraised less than a year ago, but the appraisal notices are out again this week.
Attorney Gary Borek told us last year’s assessment was a correction of previous practices.
“Some people were overrated relative to others and paid more than they should, others paid less than they should,” said Cheektowaga homeowner Gary Borek.
Borek said home ownership taxes depend on a number of factors, and the estimated value set by a private company is just one of them.
Borek, who received his own tax bill just this week, told us that once the city determines its total tax levy, each homeowner will have to pay a share, and if the tax increase is more than average for your neighborhood, your tax bill could go up, if if it’s below average, your bill could actually go down.
“So they statistically calculate what the average increase in property values was in a certain neighborhood and then apply that percentage to all the houses in that neighborhood, and that’s on the provisional account,” Borek said.
City officials said they were also surprised by the new estimates and plan to hold a special meeting Thursday because of backlash from homeowners.
Borek said they should encourage homeowners to submit challenges.
“You could go to a real estate agent and some will charge you and others will do it for free to get what is called a ‘market analysis’. In other words, what would you sell your property for and you could use that market analysis,” Borek added.
Borek, who himself has sued Cheektowaga for his appraisal practices, says a homeowner can try to do a full appraisal, but it can get expensive. Click here to dispute your rating.
Al Vaughters is an award-winning investigative reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 1994. See more of his work here. To submit a Call 4 action, click here.