ORPTS Regional Offices – Products & Services
Most regional staff are part of Customer Service Teams that provide direct support or assistance in several counties.as follows:
- Real Property System (RPS) Support. Staff provide ongoing technical and business support for RPS users in a network environment or on stand-alone PCs. Classroom training in the major components of the system - including valuation - is also provided. Staff also provide assistance in correcting unique data problems or by providing analysis of local data files. As RPS experts, regional staff are often called upon to assist municipalities in maximizing the efficient use of RPS in meeting local government needs.
- Reassessment Support. Staff can provide consulting services for localities in the form of a needs analysis, and will help establish work plans and timetables so that municipalities are fully aware of reassessment project costs, responsibilities, and scope. Staff work with the locality to plan and implement the project, ensure that technical advice and assistance is provided as needed and can participate in public information meetings as necessary. When valuation contractors are not involved, staff may help with the running of valuation programs and/or in providing initial value estimates that must be reviewed in the field. There is an emphasis on building local capacity in valuation.
- Reassessment Monitoring and Review. Staff maintain regular contact to monitor the process and results for Full Value Measurement and State Aid purposes, and perform a "Local Reassessment Project Review and Analysis" process to document the results and their determination.
- Assessment Administration Support. Staff respond to calls and emails from assessors, county directors of real property tax services and other assessment administration or IT staff covering a wide range of topics: exemptions (STAR, veterans, senior), sales correction and reporting, data collection, RPS business rules, state aid requirements, etc. If the person contacted doesn't know the answer, they may refer the issue to the appropriate staff, management or unit.
- Pre-Decisional Collaboration. Staff share the results of ORPTS' market analysis and review the results of any local analysis in an effort to reach agreement on the locality's level of assessment prior to the development of RARs and equalization rates, and to avoid administrative review.
- Assessment Administration Training. Staff participate in the presentation of training required for certification, continuing education, and special seminars for assessors, county directors of real property tax services and other appropriate assessment personnel.
In support of ORPTS' Full Value Measurement (FVM) program, many of the staff in the regional offices are directly involved in one or more of the various methods used to estimate each assessing unit's full market value on annual basis, which in turn is used to develop state equalization rates.
- Market analysis. Using recognized industry techniques, staff analyze real property sales data, local property inventory data and assessments to develop sales ratios and CAMA (computer-assisted mass appraisal) models to estimate market values for residential properties in most assessing units. Market trends are also developed to bring currency to prior market value estimates for residential, vacant and commercial property types.
- Sample appraisals. For municipalities or property types lacking sufficient sales and/or property inventory data, staff appraise randomly-selected properties in the residential, commercial and vacant classes; the appraisals in turn are used to derive an overall market value for that property type.
- Reassessment review. Staff review the process and analyze the results of reassessment projects. If the aggregate values of each property type are within standard tolerances, the local value estimates are used as the basis of DTF-ORPTS' full value estimates in the equalization rate.
- Taxable State owned land valuation. Regional staff appraise regular taxable state owned land on a periodic basis, and forestry staff in the Ray Brook satellite determine the value of all taxable State owned forest land each year. These values become the basis for the "approved" values that are compared to the assessed values on local rolls - if the assessed values fall outside reasonable tolerances, ORPTS will challenge the values to protect the State's interests as a taxpayer.
In support of DTF-ORPTS' mission to improve the fairness, transparency, quality and efficiency of the property tax system, regional staff also promote division initiatives and goals in outreach sessions with city/town councils, taxpayer groups and assessor associations.
- Advocate for reassessments as a means to achieve and/or maintain property tax equity.
- Encourage assessing units to maintain current and accurate property inventory and sales data, which can result in more accurate assessments and equalization rates and improved taxpayer confidence in the system.
- Promote greater collaboration and efficiency to local government officials through various actions (staff will also provide advice and assistance as needed):
- The formation of "coordinated assessing units"
- Villages opting to cease being assessing units
- Towns switching from three-person Boards of Assessors to Sole Appointed Assessor
- Greater use of technology