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Forum Reassessment Talk Lowers Angst in Scarsdale

SCARSDALE, N.Y. – Residents worried about the Scarsdale reassessment project that is set to begin Monday had some of their angst assuaged at the annual Scarsdale Forum Inc. and the Town and Village Civic Club general membership meeting Thursday night.

Eric Hardy of Tyler Technologies Inc., CLT Appraisal Services, who was awarded the project contract, said appraisals will begin in earnest Monday in the Edgewood neighborhood, where they will begin appraising upwards of 1,100 homes.

“These are professional appraisers, this is what they do as a business,” he said to the packed audience. “They know what to look for and what’s important to the process. You can feel real comfortable with them. They’re good professionals doing their job.”

The Scarsdale reassessment is taking place in several stages. First is data collection, where trained appraisers will make two attempts to inspect the interior and exterior of the homes. These appraisers will be checking for the number of bedrooms, bathrooms and finished rooms, as well as the quality of the construction. Age, condition and size will also be factored. Proximity to important town locations, such as the Scarsdale Public Safety Building and high school, will also be considered.

Next comes the data analysis. Based on the data, along with an analysis of recent sales of similar homes in the neighborhood, CLT will utilize a computer-assisted mass appraisal system to estimate the property’s current market value.

Finally there will be a chance for residents to have some input into the process through informal hearings, which are meant to be a courtesy to the town and to the taxpayers. This will afford CLT the opportunity to correct any mistakes it may have made during the project. If the appraisers see a trend amongst the input residents give, they will be able to make a correction to all similar properties.

Scarsdale Village Manager Alfred A. Gatta said CLT’s contract was for $799,000, with some additional expenses factored in. There was a competitive bidding process before CLT was selected.

Most of the questions centered on the inspections, which will move to Sherbrooke Farms after Edgewood.

“There is nothing residents have to do, and we don’t care about whether the house is clean or what’s on the countertops,” he said. “It may take 10 to 15 minutes for a small house and much longer at a larger house – it depends on the complexity of the property. We would like the property owner to escort us around – we won’t go anywhere by ourselves."

One resident who had gone through a similar reassessment with the same company while he lived in Bronxville had reassuring words for the public as the question-and-answer period concluded.

“Subjectively, I can say it was painless and the folks were courteous and quick. We had a 3,000 square foot Victorian and they were out in 15 minutes,” he said. “They were receptive to our input and adjusted accordingly. About a third of the houses’ value went up, a third down, and a third stayed the same. The company did a swell job, and everyone was satisfied.”

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