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Volume 5 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 3

Opinions of Counsel index

Assessor (salary) (revaluation program) - Real Property Tax Law, § 1522; Town Law, § 27:

 The services rendered by an assessor in connection with a revaluation program are within the ambit of the responsibilities of his office, and he may not therefore, receive extra compensation for such services.

Our opinion has been requested as to whether town assessors may receive extra compensation for work performed in connection with an “in-house” revaluation program.

Pursuant to section 27 of the Town Law, salaries for town officers and employees are fixed from time to time by the town board. Section 27 provides in part, that:

Salaries shall be in lieu of all fees, charges or compensation for all services rendered to the town or any district or subdivision thereof. . . .

Under this section an assessor, who is a town officer, may not be paid additional compensation for the performance of duties incidental to his office (4 Op.State Compt. 625; 5 Op.State Compt. 479). The authority to assess real property for purposes of taxation is vested in local assessing officers. Under such authority, assessors have an annual responsibility for preparing the assessment roll for their respective assessing units, placing thereupon the real property valuations as determined by them. A revaluation program may be undertaken by the assessors themselves or with the help of an independent appraisal firm, as is authorized by section 572 of the Real Property Tax Law, which may be employed by a municipality to aid the assessors in the assessment of real property. In any event, the services rendered by assessors in such a program are within the ambit of the assessment responsibilities of the office of assessor (Real Property Tax Law, § 1522), and therefore an assessor in rendering such services may not receive compensation beyond the salary fixed by the town board for the office.

It is to be noted, however, that pursuant to the provisions of Town Law, section 116, town officials may be reimbursed for expenses incurred in carrying out their official duty where approved by the town board either in the form of a fund for such reimbursement or a resolution of the town board to pay such expenses (26 Op.State Compt. 267).

May 12, 1975

Updated: