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Volume 7 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 38

Opinions of Counsel index

Taxes (delinquent) (notice requirement) – Real Property Tax Law, §§ 1002, 1014, 2006; Oneida County Tax Collection and Enforcement Act, §§ 6, 9:

The requirements for published notices regarding tax delinquent property in Oneida county are provided for by special act which supersedes conflicting provisions of the Real Property Tax Law.

We have been asked whether the provisions of chapter 486 of the Laws of 1979 apply to Oneida County Chapter 486 amended sections 1002 and 1014 of the Real Property Tax Law to reduce the requirements relative to published notices of tax lien sales and unredeemed properties. In lieu of publication once each week for six consecutive weeks, the Legislature substituted the requirement therefor “in each of three non-consecutive weeks in a six week period.”

Procedures for the enforcement of the collection of delinquent real property taxes in Oneida county, however, are prescribed by a special act, Chapter 559 of the Laws of 1902. Sections 6 and 9 of that Chapter require publication of a notice of tax sale and of unredeemed lands respectively. Section 6 requires publication of a tax lien list once a week for six weeks (not unlike section 1002 of the Real Property Tax Law prior to the 1979 amendment), while section 9 mandates publication of a notice of unredeemed land once in each week “for three weeks successively.” Thus, the provisions of the Real Property Tax Law in this regard are inconsistent with those having application only in Oneida County.

Because of the limitations imposed upon the application of the Real Property Tax Law at the time of its codification (L.1958, c.959), Oneida County must comply with the provisions of its special act in regard to publication of the aforementioned notices. This is the result of section 2006 (formerly §1606, as renumbered by L.1973, c.39) of the Real Property Tax Law which provides that:

This chapter [the RPTL] shall not be deemed to repeal or otherwise affect the provisions of any special...law...of any county,...it being the intention of the legislature that the same shall continue in full force and effect until and unless otherwise duly amended, repealed or affected.

There is nothing in the 1979 amendments to section 1002 and 1014 which suggests a legislative intent to “amend, repeal or affect” local or special acts on the same subject. In comparison, see subdivision 3 of section 1008 of the Real Property Tax Law, as added by Chapter 301 of the Laws of 1973, which permits a county legislative body to authorize the county treasurer to purchase tax liens at a tax sale without competitive bidding. There, the legislature provided for universal application by adding the phrase “[n]otwithstanding any other provision of law....” No such language was included in the 1979 amendments to sections 1002 and 1014 of the Real Property Tax Law.

In summary, the procedures for the enforcement of the collection of unpaid taxes in Oneida County are governed by the provisions of Chapter 559 of the Laws of 1902 and not the Real Property Tax Law, except as otherwise specifically provided therein.

August 30, 1979

Updated: