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Volume 5 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 2

Opinions of Counsel index

Aged exemption (local authorization) (notice of school district hearing) - Real Property Tax Law, § 467:

The notice of a public hearing on a resolution by a school district to adopt or amend the aged exemption (Real Property Tax Law, §467) must be published once at least five days prior to the day set for the hearing.

We have received an inquiry concerning the public hearing requirement of the so-called “aged exemption,” section 467 of the Real Property Tax Law. The question is whether a school district is required to publish notice of a hearing at which a proposal to revise the local income limit for the purpose of this exemption is to be discussed.

A “municipal corporation,” which by definition in section 102, subdivision 10 of the Real Property Tax Law includes “school districts,” may adopt a local law, ordinance or resolution granting a partial exemption from taxation on real property owned by certain elderly persons, only after a public hearing. School districts, of course, may only act by resolution. A public hearing is also required prior to any change in the annual income limit adopted by a granting municipality for the purpose of this exemption.

Any public hearing held by a municipal corporation must be pursuant to the notice requirements contained in statutory or judicial law. A public hearing by its very nature requires public notice. As was noted by the court in Stanford v. Summers, 157 Misc. 698, 284 N.Y.S. 840, aff’d, 247 App. Div. 627, 288 N.Y.S. 921, “[u]nder our Democratic form of government, a public hearing is, when required by statute, an inalienable right, and a minimum of five days’ notice is a reasonable requirement which fully protects that right” (284 N.Y.S., at 844-845). (emphasis added)

Specific notice requirements exist for certain local enactments. For example, town ordinances require a public hearing upon at least ten days notice (Town Law, §130), and village resolutions, unless otherwise specifically required by law, require a public hearing upon at least fifteen days notice (Village Law, §21-2100). However, there appears to be no general notice requirement relating to the adoption of a resolution, which is the sole legislative authority available to boards of education. Our analysis of the Education Law leads to a conclusion that at least five days is a general requirement, and since such conclusion is also consistent with the Stanford case (supra), we recommend such minimum period prior to a public hearing on a proposed resolution.

Therefore it is our opinion that notice of a public hearing on a resolution to adopt or amend the aged exemption must be published once at least five days prior to the day set for the hearing.

May 13, 1975

Updated: