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EQUALIZATION PROJECT TEAM

MINUTES
Wednesday, June 4, 2003
10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.; Manlius Town Hall

Attending:

 Assessors:  Dave Briggs, Val Martins, Edye McCarthy, Roger Tibbetts, Walter Smead

 County Directors:  Bob Diener, Barry Miller, Tom Bloodgood

ORPS:  Pat Holland, Jim O'Keeffe, Tim Maher

 Others: Tom Frey 

2002 Rates – Status & Issues:

Pat reported that all of the 2002 rates are final except for 21 cities and towns in Suffolk and Westchester Counties.  These municipalities have filed complaints and we expect the State Board to establish final rates at their meeting on June 10.  The 2002 equalization rate is the same as the LOA declared by the assessor for 64 percent of the municipalities in the State.  

The team had concerns about the following issues and decided we need to address them when we discuss plans for 2004 rates and beyond:

-         trending

-         unsampled major types

-         timing of pre-decisional collaboration (PDC) meetings

-         if ORPS rejects the LOA should the residential sales ratio or the residential CAMA study be used to calculate eq rate?

-         should different staff review complaints (possibly in a different regional office)?

-         valuation of commercial property

-         time adjustments for sales

-         use of “retro” sample parcels

-         sample sizes

-         different skill levels among CRMs

-         is stratification needed in sales ratio studies?

-         the same people assist the locality conduct a reassessment an then review the reassessment

Effectiveness of Pre-Decisional Collaboration (PDC) Meetings:

The team thought that the PDC meetings this year were much more useful than last year.  In 2002 the meetings in many cases were not held until after tentative roll.  This year the meetings were held in most cases during February or March.

The team agreed that it is important that the meetings for 2004 rolls and eq rates are held even earlier in the process.  Tim reported that ORPS plans to start holding these meetings in the fall.  The team said priority should be given to the municipalities that are conducting 2004 reassessments.  If ORPS thinks that the municipality needs to make substantial changes to reach an LOA of 100% then its important that the assessor is aware of this in the fall instead of in March 2004. 

It was suggested that ORPS staff in conjunction with assessors could develop CAMA models for 2004 reassessment communities in September or October 2003.

2003 Rates Status and Issues:

Pat reported that tentative 2003 State equalization rates have been established for 408 cities and towns.  The equalization rate is the same as the LOA declared by the assessor for 74 percent of these municipalities.  She said that ORPS plans to establish final rates for all municipalities before the first levy of taxes.  We expect to have the majority of rates final by early August. 

Pat also reported that this year we are conducting additional tests for current year reassessments.  ORPS staff will conduct residential sales ratio and residential CAMA ratio studies prior to the establishment of the tentative 2003 rates.

Rules and Legislation:

Jim discussed the proposed amendments to the assessor's report rules.  The changes are eliminating parts 4 and 9 and clarifying the filing format requirements. 

Jim reported that the 2003-04 State budget increased the 5217 filing fee from $25 to $50.  Jim also reported that there have been several bills introduced by members regarding limiting changes in equalization rates and requiring the board to establish an eq rate for commercial property. 

Jim reported that the ceiling railroad cases have been settled.  The settlement will not require any additional payments by localities. 

Plan for 2004 Rates & Beyond:

We started discussions of a framework for 2004 equalization rates.  There was agreement on the following issues:

-         A current year full value standard (ex. Full value of January 1, 2004 for 2004 rates)

-         Establishment of tentative rates within 30 days of tentative roll date (in May for most towns)

-         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 every year

-     Conduct new CAMA studies for the residential class every year

We decided that we can't wait until September to discuss the other issues with 2004 eq rates so we decided to schedule a meeting for July. 

Next meeting – Wednesday, July 23, 2003 in the Albany office of ORPS from 10-3.  Proposed agenda topics include:

-         Plan for 2004 rates & beyond

-         Status of 2003 rates

Updated: