John Whittaker

JAMESTOWN, N.Y. — The city of Jamestown has a little way to go before it takes the top of western New York’s tax rankings.

According to a recent report by the Empire Center for New York State Policy, the city’s $51.66 effective property tax rate ranks ninth in western New York behind Cheektowaga in Erie County and the Allegany County municipalities of Wellsville, Andover, Alfred, Almond, Burns, Cuba, and Alma. Jamestown’s effective tax rate is the highest in Chautauqua County.

Chautauqua County towns populate the ranks of the lowest effective property tax rates, with the town of Chautauqua ($19.18 per $1,000 of assessed valuation), Ellery ($19.86), Westfield ($20.41), North Harmony ($20.72) and Portland ($21.39) all finding their way into the 20 lowest western New York tax rates. All four of the towns share the Chautauqua Lake Central School District, which is home to some of the most highly-valued property in Chautauqua County, a fact that serves to keep tax rates down.

“Focusing on the effective tax rate allows taxpayers and government officials to establish performance goals and benchmarks for their communities,” the Empire Center report states. “The ‘all-in’ property tax bill is often a key factor in locational decisions by individuals and businesses. In addition, the tax data point to an inverse relationship between effective tax rates and property values, with high effective rates often correlating to low median home values.”

The data was taken from data collected by the state Comptroller’s Office and reflects taxes levied during the 2019 fiscal year. As a region, western New York’s average median effective tax rate of $33.41 per $1,000 of assessed valuation is third-highest in the state behind central New York ($35.24) and the Finger Lakes ($33.94).

© 2019 Times Observer

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