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Volume 4 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 73

Opinions of Counsel index

County director of real property tax services (salary increase) - County Law, § 201; Municipal Home Rule Law, § 24(2) (h) ; Real Property Tax Law, § 1530:

Since the county director of real property tax services is appointed for a fixed term, his salary may not be reduced during his term of office, and may be increased only upon the adoption of a local law which is subject to referendum or petition.

We have received an inquiry concerning salary increases for County Directors of Real Property Tax Services.

Section 201 of the County Law provides, in part, as follows:

. . . The salary of any such officer elected or appointed for a fixed term shall not be increased or diminished during the term of his office, except as the same may be increased as provided in paragraph h of subdivision two of section twenty-four of the municipal home rule law, and except as the same may be increased in accordance with a schedule providing higher rates of compensation through additional increments of salary based on time service. . . .

Subdivision 2 of section 24 of the Municipal Home Rule Law provides, in part, as follows:

2. Except as otherwise provided by or under authority of a state statute, a local law shall be subject to referendum on petition if it:
. . .
h.  In the case of a city, town or village increases the salary of an elective officer during his term of office or, in the case of a county, increases the salary of an elective officer or of an officer appointed for a fixed term, during his term of office, except where any such increase by a county is made in accordance with a schedule providing higher rates of compensation through additional increments of salary based on time service, which schedule or applicable amendment thereof was in existence prior to the commencement of such term of office. . . .

Since the county director is appointed for a fixed term (Real Property Tax Law, § 1530) , his salary may not be reduced during his term of office and may be increased only upon the adoption of a local law which is subject to referendum on petition.

A local law which is subject to referendum on petition shall not take effect until at least forty-five days after its adoption; if within said forty-five days, a petition protesting against such local law, signed by at least 10 percent of the electors qualified to vote at the last gubernatorial election, is filed with the clerk, a proposition for the approval of such local law must be submitted at the next general election of state or local government officials held in such local government not less than sixty days after the filing of such petition; however, the petition may request and the legislative body may adopt a local law submitting the proposition at a special election held not less than sixty days after the adoption of the local law providing for the special election.

Of course, if no such petition is filed within said forty-five day period, the local law takes effect without referendum.

January 22, 1975

Updated: