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Department of Taxation and Finance

RPTAC Equalization Project Team

April, 4, 2007
10:00 a.m. – 2:15 p.m.


Assessors:  Tom Frey, Edye McCarthy, Todd Wiley

County:  John Noto, Paul Burckard, Robert Diener

ORPS:  Pat Holland, Tim Maher, HK Lo, Tom Pinto, Dave Ange

 Rules and Legislation Update:

            Tim discussed the new Middle Class STAR Rebate program that was included in the budget.  Todd asked about the amount of STAR administrative aid for this year – not known yet.  ORPS will check with the New York State Department of Tax & Finance (DTF) to see if they will establish a special telephone number for assessors and county directors to call regarding the new program.  ORPS will again be collecting spreadsheets and RPS extract files for co-ops and mobile homes in mobile home parks for owners that are receiving STAR exemptions.  Starting in 2008 assessors will need to provide ORPS with a list of properties where a STAR exemption was added or removed and where there was a change in ownership.

Assessors and County Directors are against the Flood Relief bill because there are technical issues and they believe the bill needs to be re-written.  They want the Governor to veto the bill. 

There is $60,000 in the budget for the Cornell Study on farm appraisals, which is good news. 

At the next State Board meeting, ORPS will start the process of eliminating the certified county and certified school provisions in the State Board's rules (subpart 186-12).  The Real Property Tax Law was changed several years ago to allow schools and counties to accomplish the same outcome without the need for approval by ORPS.  Therefore the rules are no longer needed.   

Update on ORPS Organizational Structure

Effective May 1, the new Central Valuation Services Unit (CVSU) within ORPS will be responsible for all appraisals except taxable State land.  The CVSU will have staff in each regional office and staff in Albany.  There will be staff in each region that will be moved to CVSU to concentrate on appraisal work. The new CVSU may result in the loss of some current CRMs to the new unit.  The remaining CRMs will no longer have appraisal responsibilities.  There was concern expressed that some CRMs are unable to explain appraisals in their meetings with assessors – what will happen when they are not responsible for the appraisals?  The assessors will have access to their CRM and the appraisal staff from CVSU.    

There are also plans to create 3 mid-level manager positions in each region known as “Real Property Manager 1”.  Existing staff will be promoted into these new positions. These individuals will report to the Regional Director.  The Southern and Northern regions already have one of these managers in their satellite offices(Saranac and Long Island) – so they will receive 2 mid-level managers in their main offices.  The Western and Central regional offices will receive 3 mid-level managers.  This will also affect CRM assignments.  This change may take months to roll out as each position must be re-classified by the Department of Civil Service.  There was also discussion of downstate pay differentials which is an issue that must be negotiated between the Unions and the Governor's office. 

Status of 2007 PDC Process and plans for 2008 PDC

The 2007 PDC process is complete for almost all of the state.  Tom Pinto distributed a PDC status reports.  There was a request that the headings on the reports could use some clarification.  It was agreed that the 2008 PDC schedule will be similar to the 2007 schedule.  Assessors are concerned that PDC meetings are not always occurring in the months of October through December.  Assessors need to confirm their LOA in order to file their tentative assessment roll.  There was a question of whether county directors should see PDC data before assessors.  Since the relationship between county directors and assessors vary from county to county, it may make sense in some counties. “Kick off” meetings are not happening in every county.   

Review PDC Reference Manual

            At the last meeting, Tom Frey wanted to know how ORPS developed market trends.  At this meeting Tom Pinto handed out “ORPS Market Analysis Process” from the ORPS web page.  Tom P. explained that stratifying sales in the residential class did not result in much change.  Stratification for classes B and C modified the trends and made them more realistic.  The team would like market analysts to provide results, maybe a report, on the blending of trends for classes B and C.  Are there examples of where the stratification worked and where it didn't work? 

Creation of an Industrial Interval for 2008 equalization rates

            Currently, high valued industrial properties may or may not be selected as a sample.  Historical data shows that these types of properties are often assessed at a different level of assessment than other properties.  By creating an industrial interval in the B class, it will force the appraisal of large industrial properties and result in a more accurate market value ratio for the class.  The interval would contain all properties with a 700 Property Classification Code, but in order for the interval to be created, it must contain at least 25% of the class assessed value or at least 5% of the total assessment roll assessed value.  Should this idea be expanded to include other types of property (like apartment/ mobile home). 

There is concern that the change in valuation date from January 1 of the current year to July 1 of the previous year will cause problems in a declining market.  The property owners will submit sales that are 2 weeks old to the BAR but the valuation date is 11 months prior to grievance day.

RPTAC action Item # 67

KSA – knowledge, skills and ability

            RPTAC has charged the Equalization Project Team and the Valuation Issues Team to evaluate the results from the ORPS Customer Survey.  The focus is on the technical nature of ratio studies and trends and what can be done to increase KSA of both the locals and ORPS staff.  The Customer Survey showed a 71% satisfaction for the Rate Complaint Process and a 74% satisfaction for the Pre-decisional Collaboration Process.  Dissatisfaction is long standing with the technical nature of ratios, trends and confidence in statistical results.  In the latest cycle, Ulster County had to revise commercial trends established by ORPS again.  A breakdown of survey results by region may be of interest.  The more dissatisfied people are in the Northern and Southern regions where the market trends have been larger.

            There are no specifics in the Customer Survey and there was no follow-up as to the reasons for the dissatisfaction.  An additional survey may be necessary.  We need to invite the Valuation Issues team to a meeting to discuss the next steps.  There should be representation from the CVS Unit on the Valuation Issues Team. The Valuation Team will be invited to our next meeting in July.

Update of Jefferson County Equalization Rates

            Information on market changes in Jefferson County will be analyzed once the tentative 2007 rates are established.           

Status of Trend Study by Bob Gloudemans

The study of ORPS time trends that Bob Gloudemans was going to conduct has been cancelled.  The study was going to review and compare the market value trends in municipalities that are maintaining full value assessments to municipalities that are updating assessments periodically to those municipalities that that are not maintaining assessments.  Dave Williams is looking into doing a similar analysis himself.  

Next Meeting: Wednesday, July 11, 2007 in the ORPS Syracuse and Newburgh offices from 10 to 3.  We will video-conference between the two offices.