Historic tax rate drop in Rochester: Mayor outlines major decrease for homeowners

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — After city-wide property value increases, Rochester leaders say property owners will see a “historic” decrease in the tax rate.

For the third straight year, Mayor Malik Evans is proposing to keep the tax levy flat. According to the plan, the property tax rate will decrease by nearly 38% from around $18 per thousand dollars to around $11.

The mayor says this would be one of the largest tax rate decreases in the city’s history. “If we had not finalized this assessment, if we had paused this assessment, city homeowners would be faced with an increased tax rate. the math proved us right.”

These lowered taxes are coming after the city’s extensive reassessment this past winter. Picking a random house on Portland Avenue in the city’s northeast, we find it nearly doubled in value. When homeowners saw numbers like these, we were inundated with concerns about taxes jumping too.

But city officials confirmed Tuesday there is no reason for panic.

“Just because your assessed value increases does not necessarily specifically mean that your taxes will increase,” City Council member Michael Patterson said.

The city says your property taxes last year were $17.84 for every $1,000 that your house was worth. This year, it will be $11.11 per $1,000. So even if your house’s value went up, the city is charging you less, so you have some wiggle room before you pay more money.

That wiggle room is about 60% — if you home value went up less than 60%, you should see a decrease. And if you went up more than 60%, it’s still not guaranteed your taxes will be more, because of tax breaks. A big one is STAR (School Tax Relief program) benefits, which New York State just increased. Any homeowner who makes less than $500,000 is eligible for something from STAR.

Councilmembers said Tuesday’s announcements give neighborhoods that should have seen an increase years ago the extra boost their homes were worth.

The city’s 2024-2025 budget will be released on Friday.

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