WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBS 2) — New national statistics reveal that the top 10 property tax counties in America are right here in our area. But there is only one No. 1 and the distinction goes to New York City’s northern suburb.
It’s beautiful but expensive. For the third year in a row Westchester County has chalked up the highest property taxes in the United States. People here want that to end.
“It’s sad because none of our children can afford to live in this area. They have to go upstate a little bit, because of the taxes, yes,” Jenny Lubrisciano of Mamaroneck told CBS 2’s Lou Young.
Westchester residents pay almost 12 percent of their annual income to property taxes, for an average bill of $9,044. Many pay more.
“I’ll be moving out of the state. I can’t afford it anymore,” said Hugh Duffy of Yorktown Heights, adding he pays roughly $14,000 a year.
“About $25,000 in property taxes, and a very close friend of mine in Pleasantville pays $30,000,” added Paula Brunacelli of Thornwood.
But Brunacelli was playing golf Wednesday on one of the many county courses. Westchester County has a $2 billion budget covering everything from parks to police, and a $166 million deficit.
If taxes are to come down, something will have to go.
“We are making some structural changes to our budgets to the way we thing to everything that we do,” County Executive Rob Astorino said.
Like perhaps merging police forces to save money. The county made a deal with the Town of Ossining Tuesday night to take over its police force, getting needed extra cops and the new precinct house and allowing the town to save $1 million annually in the process. The town supervisor said joining forces will save money for everyone.
“I think we’re all looking at the burden of our property taxes, the burden of providing excellent services and a high quality of life in local governments. But what can we really afford?” Catherine Borgia said.
It’s expected the Ossining police takeover could be the first of many deals the county makes with the 43 various police agencies around Westchester. The very structure of government is changing as tax payers signal that they may have reached their limit.
Westchester County currently employs 5,800 people. It’s expected the new budget cut included a substantial number of layoffs.