Skip universal navigation

New York State Universal header

Skip to main content

Volume 8 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 94

Opinions of Counsel index

Tax maps (preparation) (Westchester County) - General Construction Law, § 93; Real Property Law, § 333; Real Property Tax Law, § 503; Westchester County Tax Law, § 283.11:

Cities and towns in Westchester County are responsible for the preparation and maintenance of tax maps.

The general rule in New York State is that counties prepare and maintain tax maps for cities and towns (Real Property Tax Law, §503(1)(a)). That has not always been the case, however.

Prior to the enactment of the so-called “Assessment Improvement Act” in 1970 (L.1970, c.957), preparation of tax maps was a city/town option, subject to the right of a county board of supervisors to authorize the preparation of such maps for use by town and city assessors (RPTL, §568, repealed by chapter 472 of the Laws of 1984). In 1970, section 1534 was added to the RPTL, assigning to “[e]ach county, except a county wholly within a city” the duty to prepare and maintain tax maps for each city and town therein.

In 1984, section 1534 was repealed and replaced by a new section 503, which is substantially a consolidation of other sections of law, former sections 568, 1534 and 1542 (L.1984, c.472). Although on its face section 503 only excepts from its terms “a county wholly within a city”, by examining its legislative derivation, we find one additional optional exception.

Former section 1534 imposed upon counties generally the responsibility for tax map preparation and maintenance. That section was part of Article 15-A, a comprehensive amendment to the RPTL in 1970 (L.1970, c.957). As part of that enactment, the State Legislature created an optional exception to the general tax map rule, in section 7 of what became chapter 957.

Section 7 of chapter 957 of the Laws of 1970 provided that “[n]otwithstanding any provisions of this act to the contrary” (i.e., §1534), tax maps would be the responsibility of cities and towns in any county where the following conditions were satisfied:

(1) there was a State statutory requirement that tax map identification numbers be included in conveyances of real property in that county as a condition to recording;

(2) the county legislative body adopted a resolution assigning to cities and towns responsibility for tax map preparation and, in the case of towns, the further duty of providing to any village therein a copy of the pertinent portion of the town tax map, upon request.

At the time of the enactment of chapter 957, the first condition of section 7 was satisfied in Westchester County. Subdivision 1-e of section 333 of the Real Property Law (added by L.1948, c.770, and amended by L.1969, c.250) barred the recording officer in that County from recording or accepting for record any conveyance of real property which did not include the appropriate tax map number.

On August 16, 1971, the Westchester County legislative body adopted a resolution (No. 143-1971) which satisfied the second condition of section 7 of chapter 957. In pertinent part, that resolution provided that: 

As the cities and towns in Westchester County have for many years prepared and maintained tax maps, [the County] Committee on Legislation is of the opinion that this practice should be continued in the interests of efficiency and economy. . . . Accordingly, [the] Committee on Legislation offers the following resolution:

RESOLVED, by the County Board of Legislators, the county legislative body of the County of Westchester, that, pursuant to the provisions of section 7 of chapter 957 of the Laws of 1970, the maps be prepared asd [sic] maintained by the cities and towns in Westchester county . . . and that each town shall provide to each village located therein upon request the pertinent portion of the town map in current conditions.

The resolution took effect October 1, 1971. There is no record that such resolution has since been revised or rescinded.

It may be that the State Legislature’s intent in creating this option was simply to maintain the status quo. Then-section 522 of the Westchester County Administrative Code (added by L.1948, c.852; since renumbered as §283.11 by 1979 L.L. No. 8) provided that “[t]he town board of each town shall prepare and file an assessment map, as hereinafter required to be approved by the state board”, and as stated in Resolution 143-1971, “the cities and towns in Westchester County have for many years prepared and maintained tax maps”. Whatever the rationale, the optional exception was included in the legislation of 1970, and the Westchester County legislative body acted expeditiously to take advantage of it.

Although section 1534 was repealed in 1984, we note two important points: first, the section was substantially reenacted in section 503; second, the optional exception to section 1534 created by section 7 of chapter 957 of the Laws of 1970 was not repealed in 1984. Clearly, then, the exception in section 7 remains in effect. {*}

We are now asked whether the earlier repeal of subdivision 1-e of section 333 of the Real Property Law in 1980 (L.1980, c.751) somehow eviscerates the action of the Westchester County legislative body pursuant to section 7 of chapter 957 of the Laws of 1970.

Although former subdivision 1-e was repealed, it was replaced by another subdivision 1-e which made applicable Statewide a comparable requirement that real property conveyances offered for recording be accompanied by a transfer report form (EA-5217) which would include certain identifying information, including the appropriate tax map numbers (one purpose being to end the series of amendments to section 333 imposing - on a county-by-county basis - the mandate of a tax map number with each conveyance offered for recording (see, L.1970, c.347; L.1975, c.261; L.1976, cc.172, 391; L.1977, cc.118, 248, 318, 405, 433, 808; L.1978, cc.664, 705)).

Even had subdivision 1-e simply been repealed and not substantially reenacted, we believe the result would be the same, as section 93 of the General Construction Law provides that “[t]he repeal of a statute or part thereof shall not affect or impair any act done . . . prior to the time such repeal takes effect, but the same may be enjoyed, asserted, enforced, prosecuted or inflicted, as fully and to the extent as if such repeal had not been effected”. In our opinion, applying this rule to the facts before us means that the repeal of the statutory precondition to the adoption of a resolution assigning to cities and towns in Westchester County responsibility for preparation and maintenance of tax maps has no effect upon such a resolution adopted prior to such repeal. (See, for example, People v. Shedrick, 104 A.D.2d 263, 282 N.Y.S.2d 939 (4th Dept. 1984), in which the court applied section 93 in holding that an amendment to a State statute repealing a county’s power to create jury districts neither expressly nor impliedly abolished existing districts lawfully created before the repeal. See also, Urban League of Rochester v. Monroe County, 71 A.D.2d 787, 419 N.Y.S.2d 339 (4th Dept. 1979), rev’d on other grounds, 49 N.Y.2d 551, 404 N.E.2d 715, 427 N.Y.S.2d 593 (1980); cf., Hodes v. Axelrod, 116 A.D.2d 75, 500 N.Y.S.2d 379 (3d Dept. 1986).)

Thus, since pursuant to the enabling authority of section 7 of chapter 957 of the Laws of 1970, the county legislative body of Westchester County long ago adopted a resolution conferring on cities and towns therein the responsibility for preparation of tax maps, which resolution remains in full force and effect, we believe that the subsequent repeal of the first condition precedent for such transfer (i.e., §333(l-e) of the Real Property Law) has no effect whatsoever on that transfer.

June 6, 1986


{*}  We believe that the suggestion that the provisions of section 7 were impliedly repealed in 1984 and, thus, would have to have been re-enacted as part of section 503, to be without merit. Even were it correct, the Court of Appeals in a most recent opinion has said that: “[A] minor, unexplained omission in connection .with a general revision of a statute should not be construed as changing a longstanding rule in the absence of a clear manifestation of such intention” (Brooklyn Union Gas Company v. Commissioner of Finance, 67 N.Y.2d 1036, at 1039, 494 N.E.2d 1383, 503 N.Y.S.2d 718, at 720 (1986)).

Updated: