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Volume 9 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 67

Opinions of Counsel index

Assessments, generally (inventory and valuation data) (financing costs of collection) - Local Finance Law, § 11.00; Real Property Tax Law, § 500:

A town may issue municipal bonds to finance a town data collection project.

We are asked whether a town may issue municipal bonds to finance a town data collection project. The data would constitute the town’s assessment inventory (RPTL, §500(1); 9 NYCRR 190-1.2).

Section 11.00 of the Local Finance Law provides that a town “may not contract indebtedness for any object or purpose for a period longer than the period of probable usefulness set forth below for such object or purpose” (subd. (a)). We believe that data collection project may qualify as either of two enumerated “objects or purposes” set forth in the statute:

53. Appraisals of real property for assessment. The expense incurred by a municipality in the employment of experts to appraise the value of real property within the municipality to assist in the assessment thereof for taxation, five years.

53-a. {*} Installation of computer assisted system for the preparation and maintenance of assessment and tax rolls including computer assisted tax accounting system. The expense incurred by a municipality in the installation of a computer assisted system for the preparation and maintenance of assessment and tax rolls, and the installation of a computer assisted tax accounting system, including data collection, computer hardware and software, ten years. (emphasis added)

Given the authorizations in these two sections, it is our opinion that a town may fund a data collection project through the issuance of municipal bonds.

October 28, 1987


{*}  We note that paragraph 53-a was added to section 11.00(a) as part of chapter 887 of the Laws of 1977 which also added Article 15-B to the Real Property Tax Law, providing State assistance for the attainment of improved real property tax administration.

Updated: