EQUALIZATION PROJECT TEAM
Wednesday March 6, 2002
10:00 a.m. 3:00 p.m.; Manlius Town Hall
Assessors: Val Martins, Edye McCarthy, Roger Tibbetts
County Directors: Tom Bloodgood, Paul Burckard, Bob Diener, Ramona Salmon
ORPS: Jim O'Keeffe, Pat Holland, Tim Maher(Recorder); AM segment-Jeff Green
Rules and Legislation:
Jim reported that the proposed rate complaint rules are out for public comment. A hearing was held on March 5, 2002 and there were no appearances and no comments. Comments are due by April 8. We anticipate that the State Board will adopt the rules at their meeting on April 23.
Jim said there is a proposal that will allow school districts with two or more municipalities with the same equalization rate to apportion taxes in the same manner as certified school districts. This proposal will also change the deadline for counties to choose to be either Title 1 or Title 2 from September 1 to November 1.
Jim reported that the proposal to define the RAR as the market value ratio determined for the residential class in the calculation of the equalization rate is still alive.
We had a discussion about Senate Bill 6221. This bill, which is supported by the NYSAA, seeks to correct the problem caused by a disagreement between the locality and ORPS on the value of a large property. This disagreement results in the taxes paid by properties with the same market value in different towns within the same school district to be different.
Collaboration between ORPS and localities prior to establishment of rates:
Jeff Green gave a presentation on a Pre-Decisional Collaboration Pilot Project that involves ORPS, the assessors in Saratoga County and the Real Property Tax Director in Saratoga County. ORPS, the assessors and the county director are working together to analyze the market place and perform systematic analysis throughout the year. One of the goals of the project is that participants will validate the market results and level of assessments of the municipalities (both reassessment and non-reassessment) in the market area. The group had a series of meetings from November through February and has one more meeting scheduled for late March. Jeff reported that he is very encouraged by the pilot project.
The team had some concerns about the ability for this process to work statewide. There were concerns regarding limited resources at both the State and local level. It was decided that we would invite Dave Williams and the ORPS Regional Directors to the next team meeting. At that meeting we will discuss how we can expand the pilot project to other localities in the State.
2002 Rates Status and Issues:
JoAnn Whalen and Jeff Bartholomew made presentations at the AOT conference and the County Directors conference regarding how an assessor can determine their LOA.
Pat distributed copies of the 2002 rate complaint booklet to team members. The booklet will be placed on the ORPS website and distributed to local officials this month. Pat explained that the information that ORPS shares with assessors at the informal meetings this year will be slightly different than in past years. The sales ratio studies, CAMA models and appraisals we use for 2002 equalization rates will be based on 2002 assessment rolls. At the time of the informal meetings (March and April of 2002) we will not have assessed values from the 2002 rolls so we can not include 2002 assessed values on the reports we distribute. The appraisal data will include an ORPS estimate of market value for the parcel but no assessed value. The sales ratio study information will include assessed values from the 2001 roll. The CAMA model data will include information from the 2001 assessment rolls.
Are assessor's annual reports still needed?:
We had a brief discussion on the requirement for assessors to file Part 2 (detail list of assessment changes) of the assessor's report every year. Some local officials thought that it was a heavy burden on the locality to identify every change as either an equalization or quantity change; some other local officials did not feel it was a large burden. It was decided that ORPS would explore the impact of not collecting this data on agency operations. ORPS will report to the team at a future meeting.
Equalization rates for exemptions that are not the same as equalization rates for apportionment:
At the State Board meeting in October 2001 there was concern expressed by several assessors that the equalization rates used for exemption calculation on the tentative roll were not the same as the equalization rates used for apportionment of taxes. The team examined data that showed for 2001 assessment rolls that the equalization rate for exemptions was the same as the equalization rate for apportionment in 43% of municipalities. The data also showed that in most cases there was less than a 5 percent difference in the two equalization rates. We also discussed how there have always been differences in the two rates for at least some municipalities. The team decided that the use of different rates for exemptions and apportionment is not a problem.
The team had a brief discussion regarding the procedures for determining 2003 equalization rates. The team's initial thoughts were that the procedure for 2003 rates should be similar to the procedures for 2002 rates. This includes:
- A valuation date of January 1, 2003
- Establishment of final equalization rates at least 30 days prior to the apportionment of taxes(by August 1 for most towns)
- Conduct new sales ratios studies for the residential class
- Conduct new CAMA studies for the residential class
- Conduct new appraisals for the commercial, vacant, utility and residential classes where needed (do not use trending)
- Limit trending to three years
Some other thoughts on 2003 rates were:
- explore new techniques for valuing vacant, farm and commercial properties
- ask (possibly require) the assessor to provide inventory data for new samples
- reduce the number of appraisals that are retros
- increase the number of appraisals that are not retros
- use value verification techniques for municipalities that have not conducted reassessments but have analyzed data to determine their level of assessment
We agreed that we would continue our discussion on procedures for 2003 rates at the next meeting.
Next meeting - Wednesday, June 12, 2002 from 10-3 Manlius Town Hall. Proposed agenda topics include:
- 2002 rates - status and issues
- 2003 rates - procedures
- Expansion of Pre-Decisional Collaboration to other municipalities
The proposed agenda and any appropriate materials will be distributed prior to the meeting.