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EQUALIZATION PROJECT TEAM

MINUTES
Wednesday June 12, 2002

10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.; Manlius Town Hall

 Attending:

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

 County Directors:  Tom Bloodgood, Bob Diener

 ORPS:  Jim O'Keeffe, Tim Maher(Recorder); AM segment-Chuck Aviza, Bob Gawrelski, Jeff Green, Vince Smith, Dave Williams

 2002 Rates Status and Issues:

Tim reported that ORPS is on schedule to establish 2002 equalization rates by August 15 for every city and town in every school district that apportions taxes on current year assessment rolls on September 1. 

 Edye said that some assessors have expressed concerns that ORPS is appraising the same parcels that they appraised for previous equalization rate studies.  She said many assessors thought that ORPS would appraise an entirely new selection of parcels for 2002 equalization rates.  Tim said that it was decided by this Team last year that the 2002 equalization rate survey would include the appraisals of some of the same parcels as previous surveys.  These “retro” appraisals are based on a new valuation date (January 1, 2002) and new inventory date (2002).  ORPS only appraises the same parcels in municipalities that have not conducted a reassessment in at least seven years.  The same parcel is only appraised if the assessed value of the parcel has not changed and the parcel has not changed major property type since 1997.  Edye asked how many appraisals ORPS did for 2002 equalization rates and how many are appraisals of new properties.  Tim said he did not have the exact numbers and that at the next meeting he will provide the number of appraisals, the number of new appraisals and the number of retro appraisal by region and major type.

 Dave W. said that he is encouraged that in most municipalities the results of the residential CAMA ratio studies are similar to the results of the residential sales ratio studies.  He also said that as expected the more parcels (and usually more sales) in a municipality the more similar the results are for the two ratio studies.

 Pre-Decisional Collaboration:

Dave W. said that one of the key components of pre-decisional collaboration is analyzing the market place leading up to the tentative roll.

 Jeff and Walter discussed the pre-decisional collaboration project in Saratoga County.  They both had mostly positive comments about the process.  Walter said in upcoming years the process should start earlier.  He said the market analysis collaboration for 2003 roll should start in the summer of 2002. They also recommended that the process should be expanded to include more assessors in Saratoga County. 

Bob reported on the “pre-decisional collaboration” pilot project for three towns in Onondaga County.  He said the project was worthwhile and that both ORPS staff and the assessors involved thought that it would be worthwhile to expand the project to other municipalities in the county.

 Dave W. was asked what are the plans for next year?

 Dave W. responded that ORPS is developing an LOA training class for assessors.  He said the class will involve hands-on training and will not be just theoretical.  He plans to offer the course in the fall. 

 Dave W. said the ORPS Customer Relationship managers will be meeting with the County Directors to identify customer needs.  He said ORPS will balance resources with the needs of the counties and assessors.  He said the needs will vary by county.  He said for example in a particular county “Pre-Decisional Collaboration” will be the priority while in another county the installation and support of RPS V4 will be the priority.

 Rules and Legislation:

Jim reported that the State Board adopted the rate complaint rules at their meeting on April 23. 

 Jim said the bill 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 is still alive but has not passed.  This bill 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 bill 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.  Jim said this bill is still alive but has not passed.

 Summary of 2001 Rate Complaint Process:

Tim distributed summary data for the 2001 rate complaint cycle.  There were 46 complaints against the 2001 eq rates.  As a result of these complaints the State Board changed 18 rates.  The number of complaints is considerably less than were filed in the mid 1990s. 

 2003 Rates:

The team discussed the general process for determining 2003 equalization rates. The team's 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

 ORPS staff will prepare preliminary procedures for 2003 equalization rates and distribute them to the team prior to the next meeting.  We will review the procedures at the next meeting.  The plan is to present procedures to the State Board at their meeting in November.

 Next meeting – Monday, September 16, 2002 from 10-3 Manlius Town Hall.  Proposed agenda topics include:

-         2002 rates - status and issues

-         2003 rates – review draft procedures

-         LOA Fall Training

Updated: