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Department of Taxation and Finance

RPTAC Equalization Project Team

April 1, 2009
10:00am to 3:00pm
ORPS Albany Office


Assessors:  Colleen Adamec, Tom Frey, Curt Schoeberl, Denise Trudell and Todd Wiley

County Directors:  Frank Curtis, Lynda Levine and Mike Sabansky

ORPS:  Patricia Holland, HK Lo, Tim Maher and Tom Pinto 

Guests: George Herren and Dave Williams

 Rules and Legislation

HK reported that the State Board repealed sections 191-3.1(d) and 191-3.2 of the State Board's rules at their meeting on March 26, 2009.  These provisions deal with revised residential assessment ratios and were made obsolete because of the new RAR law (section 738 of the RPTL) that was enacted on May 21, 2008.  HK also reported that section 194- Agricultural Assessments have been republished with a new 30 day comment period.  The changes dealt with definitions conforming to statue.  HK reported that the suggested changes to section -188 Minimum Qualification Standards, Training and Certification of Local Assessment Administration Personnel were tabled until the May 5, 2009 State Board Meeting.  The changes dealt with reimbursement of continuing education credits that are “banked”, and the attendance at a second conference.   

2009-2010 Budget

Tim reported that the Assembly had passed all 9 bills of the budget, but the Senate had only passed one of the bills.  One bill eliminates the middle class STAR rebate checks and the STAR administrative aid.  Effective   June 1st the RP5217 fee will increase from $75 to $125 residential and farm property and from $165 to $250 for all other property.  The revenue from the RP5217 fees will now go into the General Fund.

Publication of Assessment Equity Statistics by ORPS

Bob Gloudemans' report on the Recommendation for COD Standards was distributed. The agency has not decided on any course of action.  COD standards/guidelines are tools to indicate assessment equity in an assessing unit. 


ORPS Organizational Changes

Non-utility appraisal staff will report to the Regional Directors, Regional Services Division.

The Appraisal Support and Quality Assurance Bureau will be part of Valuation Services Division (formerly SVS-State Valuation Services and CVSU-Central Valuation Services Unit).


Trends for Commercial and Vacant/Farm Property Classes

Joe Moorman and Tom Pinto discussed the process for developing trends for commercial and vacant/farm properties.  Sales ratio trend analysis involves the analysis of sales ratios over time.  There is not consistent/reliable inventory for all commercial and vacant/farm sales to employ the time trend analysis using unit value.  The analysis is done on a region or county basis depending on the number of valid sales.  Generally three years of sales are used and are grouped by broad property uses. 

The property classification breakdown to be used to blend trends was distributed. 

MT B Groups: Commercial   

Apartment: 411

Lodging:  414,415,417 & 418

Eating/Drinking:  420,421,422,423,424,425 & 426

Retail (large):  450,451,452,453,454 & 455

Retail (small):  480,481,482,483,484,485 & 486

Bank/Office: 460,461,462,463,464 & 465 

Warehouse:  440,441,442,443,444,445,446,447,448 & 449

Car Sales/Service:  431,432 & 433

General Commercial Use: 400,410,416,430,434,435,436,437,438,439,470, 471,472, 473, 474,475,500's & 600's

MT C Groups: vacant/farm/forest

Farm Land:  100's

Small Lots:  310,311,312 & 314

Waterfront Lots:  313 & 316 

Commercial/Industrial Land:  330,331,340,341 & 350

Large Tracts (General Vacant Use):  300,315,320,321,322 & 323

Forest Land: 900,910,911,912,920,940,942,960,962,963,970,971 & 972

County based trend is weighted by the proportion of the municipality's assessed value within each use group.

A question was raised as to how a vacant/forest land trend can be different from the taxable state owned land trend.

Tom Pinto will look into providing an example of the SPSS reports that provide information on this topic.

The agency and assessing units are not funded to do a perfect job, the best is done with what resources are available.               


Tolerances for Confirming LOAs

We continued the discussion on the appropriate tolerance to use for confirming the local level of assessment identified on the tentative assessment roll.  The team believes that it is important that the LOAs on the assessment rolls are reasonable, rational and understandable to the taxpayer.   The eight alternatives for confirming the LOA were reviewed:

1)   Use a 5 percent tolerance for all municipalities.  Status Quo

2)   Use a 5 percent tolerance for municipalities that have conducted a recent reassessment and a 3 percent tolerance for municipalities that have not conducted a recent reassessment.

3)   Use a 3 percent tolerance for municipalities that have conducted a recent reassessment and a 5 percent tolerance for municipalities that have not conducted a recent reassessment.

4)  Use a 5 percent tolerance for municipalities that have conducted a current year reassessment and a 3 percent tolerance for municipalities that have not conducted a current year reassessment. 

5)   Use a 5 percent tolerance for municipalities that actively participate in the PDC process by supplying data to ORPS and a 3 percent tolerance for all other municipalities. 

6)  Use different tolerances based on the volatility of the market place.  

7)  The assessor would declare an initial LOA in November and ORPS would confirm or deny the initial LOA based on a 5 percent tolerance.  If ORPS did not confirm the initial LOA then there would be a lower tolerance for confirmation of the LOA on the tentative assessment roll. 

8)  Only allow the assessor to claim certain specific LOAs (ex. 100, 95, 90 …).  The numeric differences between the acceptable LOAs would get smaller as the LOA decreased.


We discussed the eight options.  Many feel that all municipalities should have the same tolerance.  Many variables exist in assessing units that complete reassessments.  It would be difficult to define participation in the PDC process(#5).  It would be beneficial if the locals had the same tools and expertise as ORPS(sales analysis in RPS v4/ CAMA).


We distributed data on what the 2008 equalization rates would have been if we had adopted option #8 for the 2008 rates.  We decided that we needed to see what the impact on tax apportionment would have been if we used option 8 for the 2008 rates.  ORPS will prepare data for Ulster, Jefferson and Westchester Counties and distributed the information prior to our next meeting.

 PDC Status

Tom distributed a status report for the 2009 PDC process.  Also distributed was a preliminary 2010 PDC status that shows in which counties new appraisals will be done.


RAR Status

There were no major issues with the 2009 RAR process.  There is a question about the need to establish RAR 60 days prior to tentative roll date.


Next meeting:

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at the ORPS Newburgh office.


Topics for next meeting:

-          Continue discussion on confirming the LOA and try to reach a consensus for future equalization rate procedures.  Review information on option 8 (only allow assessors to claim certain specific LOAs). Analysis of Jefferson, Ulster and Westchester Counties using option 8.

-          Status of 2009 equalization rates