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Volume 1 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 82

Opinions of Counsel index

County Director of Real Property Tax Services (outside activities) - Real Property Tax Law, § 1532:

A County Director of Real Property Tax Services should not act as an expert witness for a municipality in a certiorari proceeding.

We have been asked for our opinion in regard to whether or not a County Director of Real Property Tax Services should act as an expert witness for a municipality in a certiorari proceeding.

          The County Director of Real Property Tax Services is required by section 1532 of the Real Property Tax Law, among other things, to assist local assessors in all phases of the assessment process, coordinate countywide revaluation programs, assist the county equalization agency and provide advisory appraisals to cities and towns of moderately complex properties.

It is not a function of the County Director to appear as an expert witness on behalf of municipalities in certiorari proceedings with the possible exception, however, of cases in which the County Director has furnished the assessor with an advisory appraisal which was utilized by the assessor in determining the assessment under review.

Since the County Director is required to assist all assessors within the county, his employment as an expert witness on behalf of one or more municipalities, together with the adversary nature of a certiorari proceeding, could very well have an adverse effect upon local officials as to the ability of the County Director to remain objective in his relationship with all municipalities within the county.

Therefore, we conclude that a County Director, except in cases where he has furnished an advisory appraisal, pursuant to the statute, should not act as the appraiser for a municipality in a certiorari proceeding.

March 16, 1972

NOTE:  Construes law prior to L.1997, c.406.

Updated: