This letter will help to alleviate tax concerns

To the Editor:

At the Berne Town Board meeting on Nov. 8, 2023, residents requested that a letter be written explaining the tax increase and how it will be reflected in your upcoming tax bill.

Additionally, The Altamont Enterprise recently reported a 752-percent increase in taxes from 2023 to 2024 in the town of Berne without giving all necessary background information as to why, which created fear and uncertainty for residents [“With 752-percent increase, Berne proposes highest tax rate since 2016,” Nov. 3, 2023].

We understand why this is concerning and believe this letter will help to alleviate those concerns. The town board provided tax relief to the residents in 2022 and 2023 related to the pandemic. The tax rate is being reinstated to $4.61 per $1,000 of assessed value. The tax rate was $4.66 per $1,000 of assessed value in 2016.

 The town of Berne tax rates, per $1,000 of assessed valuation, from 2007 to 2024 are listed below for comparison:

— 2007: $4.707;

— 2008: $4.667;

— 2009: $4.667

— 2010: $4.646;

— 2011: $4.743;

— 2012: $4.813;

— 2013: $4.820;

— 2014: $4.796;

— 2015: $4.743;

— 2016: $4.659;

— 2017: $4.501;

— 2018: $4.320;

— 2019: $4.319;

— 2020: $4.167;

—  2021: $3.614;

—  2022: 0.493; (pandemic)

— 2023: $0.540 (pandemic); and

— 2024: $4.609

Please note, your full tax bill is used for the town of Berne, Albany County, Berne Fire District and Helderberg Ambulance District.

As you view your tax bill, it shows full-market value and assessed value. You are only taxed on your assessed value.

Your 2024 property taxes for the town of Berne are totaled using the following equation: assessed value divided by 1,000, then multiplied by the tax rate of $4.609.

Your property taxes are distributed between two lines on the tax bill: Line Highway 2, 3, and 4 and Line Highway 1. These are the only two lines the town board controls during budgeting.

We will use tax figures from Deputy Supervisor Anita Clayton’s for an example to show actual dollar amounts. [Tax bills from 2016, 2022, and 2023 are posted online with this letter.]

Anita Clayton paid $557.42 in 2016, $61.11 in 2022, and $66.87 in 2023. Her estimated taxes will be similar to 2016 or less in 2024.

Please consider that Albany County, Berne Fire District, Helderberg Ambulance District, and Berne-Knox-Westerlo School District tax rates have all increased for 2024.

If you have questions, please reach out to Supervisor [Dennis] Palow for answers. We discourage solely relying on sources that do not provide all full information, such as The Altamont Enterprise.

Supervisor Palow and the Berne Town Board want to work with all residents, to make the town a better place.

Dennis Palow



Anita C. Clayton

Deputy Supervisor


Leo Vane

Thomas Doolin

Albert Thiem



Berne Town Board

Editor’s note: Our Nov. 2 story said exactly what your letter says: “The town has proposed a tax rate of $4.60 per $1,000 — the highest it’s been since 2016, when the rate was around $4.66 per $1,000.” The increase is a 752-percent increase from the 2023 tax rate. Also, Albany County’s tax rate did not increase in the 2024 budget; rather, it decreased by 10 percent. 

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