Yonkers flyover has homeowners concerned

An aerial assessment of Yonkers will be conducted over the next two weeks for the first time in more than 50 years, raising concerns among local homeowners that their property taxes will go up.

Aerial views obtained by using the latest photographic technology will give the city a three-dimensional record of all houses. A street-level camera will also capture all home improvements, additions and extensions in order to keep city records up to date. The last property assessment in Yonkers was done in 1954.

Retiree Bridget Brown says she fears she will be penalized for making necessary repairs to her house after they are caught on camera.

"I don't know how I'm going to manage," she says. "All I have is my Social Security, my pension."

City Assessor Mark Russell says the flyover will not automatically result in tax hikes.

"A person might have done a lot of work, but the value of the property might be too high," he says. "In that case, the person would deserve a reduction."

Russell adds, however, that because house prices are falling and assessments are likely to be lower, that does not mean taxes will go down.

"We still have to retrieve the same amount of money in the budget," he says. "That means tax rates would have to go up to resolve the fact that assessments went down."

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