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Department of Taxation and Finance

RPTAC Equalization Project Team

2000 Annual Report

TO:                RPTAC

FROM:          RPTAC Equalization Project Team

DATE:          November 19, 2000

SUBJECT:    2000 Progress and Future Report

Our Charter charges us for a one year period with evaluation by RPTAC occurring in the last quarter of the calendar year. We are submitting this report to identify the issues discussed, report the progress made and make recommendations for continuation and future topics.

During 2000, this team met on February 16, April 5, June 21, and October 11. The meetings were held in the Manlius Town Hall from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. with all participants commuting. Advance agendas were determined and generally material for issues to be discussed was distributed in advance. In situations where additional data or materials were distributed at the meeting, copies were subsequently distributed to those not attending.

Issues Identified for 2000 and Results Summary:

Increased Use of Current Year Rates - for use in school and county apportionment processes. The establishment of final rates substantially earlier for immediate use in school apportionment. Result: Increase from 24 for 1999 rates to 490 assessing units and 182 school districts for 2000 rates. This is an area the team has worked on over many years and it has been a continuous stumbling block/difficult area for assessors, county directors and ORPS. The strong implementation of this solution is a major accomplishment upon which we will continue to build.

Special Rates - reassessment verification process and calculation. Use of verified uniform percentage directly. Result: Decrease in the number of special rates from 113 in 1999 to 61 in 2000 largely because of the growth in the current rate process. Similar to the current rates issue, this area has also been worked on over many years by the team. The results/ implementation of this much of a change is a major accomplishment upon which we will continue to build.

State-Owned Land - continued discussion for improvement and as to how/if state--owned land is handled for future rates. Result: Implementation of the results directly from the assessment screening process for equalization rate purposes. Along with current rates and special rates, this area has been a continuous stumbling/difficult area for the parties. This resolution and its implementation is also a major accomplishment for the team.

Integration/coordination with decisions/analysis, etc. of the Large Parcel Valuation Issues Team as those large parcel valuation and deregulation issues relate to or impact full value measurement and equalization. Results: Considerable discussion of valuation issues: especially the declining values of generating facilities, the use of the three approaches to value and their impact on equalization rates, legislation and freeze rates implementation. Large Parcel Valuation Issues Team not active.

Trending Adjustment Implementation and future development-Almy, Gloudemans, Denne trending report and recommendations with implications to both equalization rates and annual reassessment efforts. Results: Presentations by staff of the ORPS Trending Team, with discussion of analysis processes and statewide review of residential and commercial/vacant trends for equalization; explanation of and discussion around systematic analysis steps/results for annual reassessment

Rates and FVM Procedures - on-going with input, review, understanding and agreement. Results: Initial review and discussion of 2000 rate and ratio procedures; review and understanding of RPTL 1200 and rules amendments necessary for market value surveys. Considerable progress/discussion on the future direction of the verification of the stated level of assessment on the current assessment roll for all assessing units beginning in 2002.

Achieving/Sustaining Equity Reassessments - integration with, and implementing for use in full value measurement and rates. Results: Discussion of systematic analysis steps and progress of annual program.

Achievement of a current year rate standard and the continuation of that for future rate years. Result: 1999 equalization rates had a rate valuation standard (denominator) of 1999 and the 2000 rates a standard of 2000. Considerable discussion and understanding building around appropriate methods and the use of national standards to be used by ORPS to verify annually the stated level of assessment as the equalization rate in a process much more similar to what is done in the equalization program in other states. Anticipated implementation for 2002 rates discussion started.

2001 Issues:

At our October 11th 2000 meeting, discussion during our review of topics that the team covered in 2000 resulted in a team agreement that our charter should continue in 2001. Our work focus will be on the following issues which we feel are the most important at this time but new or additional issues may develop over time.

Discussion and review of the development of procedures for level of assessment verification, for all assessing units, and the use of those results as the equalization rate.

Triennial and Annual Reassessments-integrating with and implementing for use in full value measurement and rates.

Increased use of Current Year Rates-for use in school and county apportionment processes. Increased use of tentative rolls to calculate tentative rates.

Assessor's Annual Report (AAR)-analysis of the need for in certain circumstances and definition of procedures in support of changes, if appropriate.

Identification of and recommendations around valuation issues as they impact and apply to the equalization process.

Trending Applications-implementation in the equalization process and annual reassessment programs.

The team membership in 2000 consisted of four county directors: Tom Bloodgood (Chair), Paul Burckard, Rick Dean and Bob Diener; four assessors: Barbara Bounds, Dave Briggs (Chair), Val Martins and Roger Tibbetts; and four ORPS staff: John Harkin, Jim O'Keeffe, JoAnn Whalen and Dave Williams who was replaced midway by Tim Maher. The respective in-coming presidents of the associations, Doug Barton, Real Property Directors, and Fred Pask, Assessors, have indicated there will be no changes in their membership for 2001. ORPS frequently scheduled staff from the appropriate programmatic areas into the meetings. This worked well and should continue as a practice.

The Team would meet approximately the same number of times and most likely in the same location during 2001. Our first meeting is scheduled for March 21, 2001 unless there is an issue requiring a meeting sooner. We feel that the charter remains accurate and adequate for 2001.