Please visit the Assessments and Grievances section for all questions pertaining to this year's assessments and the grievance process.
The Assessment Department is responsible for data collection and appraisal of commercial, industrial agricultural, residential and vacant properties within the Town of Clay. We also administer all exemptions, review and analyze sales data, manage the equalization rate, defend the Town in assessment related court cases, and disseminate large volumes of assessment and tax related data to the general public. The Assessor is available by appointment throughout the year to discuss assessment related topics. We recognize that the issue of property taxes and its congruence with assessments is a complicated and emotional issue. The Assessors’ office would like property owners to be aware that WE DO NOT set budgets or levy taxes. The tax rates seen on your tax bills are the result of the expenditures and levy requests of the taxing jurisdictions in which you reside.
The Assessor will accept informal requests to your assessment at any time during the year upon the filing of an “Assessment Review Consent Form” available at our offices. These forms are usually reviewed as the last part of the process in the finishing the tentative assessment roll, which is filed on May 1 of every year. The forms must be submitted by April 1st to provide time for review. Any request for an Assessment Review must include supporting data with each form. From this point on, the Assessor will only consider an assessment reduction upon full interior and exterior inspection of your property. Keep in mind that for assessment purposes (mass appraisal purposes) all buildings are measured from the OUTSIDE, where a fee appraiser will generally measure the inside. The reason is simple. Quite frankly, no one wants the Assessor in their house, while a fee appraiser is doing his job at your request for some type of possible financial gain (refinance, for example). Since all data collected has to adhere to the same process and principles, Assessors measure the outside for all properties.
The Town of Clay appraises property at a partial value. This is a Town Board decision. The equalization rate (Level of Assessment-LOA) for 2023 is 2.98%. This reflects an increase (12%) in overall market value for 2023. It should be noted that only 17% of Town's in New York State are at full market value, meaning 83% are not, and only four Towns out of 19 in Onondaga County are at 100% of full market value. Property values have increased dramatically in the past 3 taxable years across Clay, Onondaga County and the nation. One town in Onondaga County saw a year to year increase of 16%.
To arrive at full market value for your property, divide your asesssed value by .0298. A property assessed at $5,000, divided by .0298 will yield a market value of $167,785. The Equalization rate may change every year based on yearly differences in sales versus the assessments on all properties. The actual rate is set by the New York State Office of Real Property Tax Services.
The Town of Clay property values on average have risen 45% in the last 15 years, a common trend in the northern suburbs of Onondaga County. This is a positive re-affirmation that investing in real estate in these areas is an adequate opportunity for modest growth without the extremes experienced in the market in other parts of the country.
The Town of Clay Assessors’ Office currently processes 3,743 property tax exemptions on the Town’s approximately 21,600 parcels of property, reducing the Town's taxable assessed value by 16.58%. This percent is continually increasing due to greater volumes of exemption applications and continued purchases of property by the county industrial development agency, which when purchasing property files an exemption to make it tax exempt. All renewal applications are mailed in late October every year for return by March 1st. Due to the large volume of exemption forms mailed to property owners that require return, review and in many cases necessitate follow-up phone calls, we firmly adhere to the State legislated March 1st exemption deadline for all exemption applications. As a public service we attempt to call and remind as many people as we can that the exemptions are due, but staffing constraints limit our opportunities to follow up more than once. A exemption is an opportunity, not an entitlement, and the taxpayer ultimately is responsible for renewing exemptions on time.