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RPTAC EQUALIZATION PROJECT TEAM

MINUTES OF THE RPTAC EQUALIZATION PROJECT TEAM
MEETING OF TUESDAY JUNE 22, 1999
10:00 A.M. - 3:00 P.M.; MANLIUS TOWN HALL

ATTENDING:

Assessors: Barbara Bounds, Val Martins, and Roger Tibbetts

County Directors: Paul Burckard, Tom Bloodgood, Bob Diener, and Barry Miller

ORPS: John Harkin (Facilitator), Jim O'Keeffe, JoAnn Whalen (Recorder), and Dave Williams

OPENING BUSINESS

Bob Diener had called in the morning and said that he could not attend. Jim O'Keeffe requested 15-20 minutes to discuss legislative proposals and the group agreed.

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE:

No changes to the agenda. No changes to the previous minutes. Steve Dorsey had contacted to say he would not be attending. Group likes the electronic transmission and communication except that Val cannot print the documents he is receiving. JoAnn will look into this. Those without ability to receive electronic communications are receiving paperwork timely and appropriately.

FUTURE MARKET VALUE SURVEYS/RATES:

For background, JoAnn recounted the brainstorming done at this group's last meeting and the internal ORPS staff recommen- dations which had been distributed to this team. JoAnn, Jim, and Dave had a joint phone conference with Dave Briggs and Tom Bloodgood with more details around the implementation of an annual market value survey system for equalization. The proposal would assure the continuation of having the rate valuation standard current with the assessment roll for which the rate is made. For the 1999 state equalization rates, the rate valuation standard will be January 1, 1999 and the proposed annual market value survey system will provide that for future rate years, the rate valuation standard will remain current. The 1999 rates will be the first time that the rate valuation standard is current and the first time that the market value for all assessing units is brought forward to the most current reassessments. Aggregate full value for all assessing units statewide, except those completing verified 1999 reassessments, will be adjusted to 1/1/99 for 1999 state equalization rates. The annual market value survey system also handles assessing units doing reassessments in a timely manner and those not doing reassessments in a timely manner very consistently.

In the current full value measurement procedures, reassessments up to two years prior, in the same year, and up to two years subsequent to the market value survey date, are eligible for direct use, after verification of the stated uniform percentage, in the determination of the assessing unit full value. Since we began these procedures for the 1996 rates, there have been approximately 400 assessing units in this category for each rate year. In the annual market value survey system, the procedures for timely reassessments remains constant in that we maintain the practice of verifying the stated uniform percentage of the reassessments and advancing the aggregate full value of all assessing units to the year of the most current reassessments which is a current rate valuation standard.

Similarly, in the current full value measurement procedures for non-reassessment assessing units, the measured roll is one year prior to the market value survey and all assessing units are adjusted to the current year rate valuation standard in the calculation of the equalization rate. There are approximately 600 assessing units in this category. In the non-reassessment assessing units, one-fourth to one-third of these assessing units would be identified on an annual basis for measurement of the prior year roll. Criteria for this selection process would be identified. Over a three - four year time period, each assessing unit would have a new measured roll and each assessing unit in each year would have its aggregate full value, determined as of a market value survey date, adjusted to the current rate valuation standard.

This system spreads out over a longer period of time the labor intensive work expended by ORPS to determine assessing unit full value for assessing units not conducting timely, appropriate reassessments and keeps intact the procedures used for timely appropriate reassessments. The annual market value survey system simply puts in a framework for the future. This framework does not preclude us from introducing more efficient and time/labor savings and remedies for those assessing units not achieving or sustaining equity where ORPS must independently measure aggregate full value. This will also allow more resources from ORPS to be devoted to assessing units which are achieving equity and maintaining a stated uniform percentage on an annual basis.

In terms of an example, if ORPS conducted a 2000 market Value Survey, we would use the 1999 assessment roll as the measured roll for the 600 assessing units not doing reassessments. On our present schedule to maintain a current valuation standard, we would have to determine, for each of the separate 600 assessing units, a 1/1/2000 full value which would then be adjusted to 1/1/2001 for the 2001 rates. We could begin to start the work in the Fall of 1999 - final 1999 measured rolls are available - but would need to wait until August of 2000 for the full compliment of residential sales which could be used as observations. The work for all 600 assessing units would need to be completed, at the latest, between September and December of 2001 - a total elapsed time of two years with the full complement of sale observations available only in the last 12 months. In the annual market value survey system, the work in the same time period would be completed for only 150 - 200 assessing units for the 2001 rates with another 150 - 200 started in the Fall of 2000 for the 2002 rate and the remaining started in the Fall of 2001 for the 2003 rate, etc. Similar to the work processes in place for the 1999 rates, for each assessing unit, aggregate full value would be adjusted to coincide with the assessment roll for which the rate is being made.

A template worksheet which shows more implementation details for both reassessment and non-reassessment assessing units, was distributed and discussed in great detail. All the issues which Tom and Dave had brought up in the telephone conference call were also discussed with the entire group. This proposal does not eliminate special rates - the only way we can do that is by issuing final rates for the current roll in time for the current year school and county apportionment process. This proposal maintains the rate valuation standard at the same valuation standard as the roll for which the rate is determined and continues to use the rate for the next year apportionment process. The group suggested that the year that the rate is used in the apportionment process be added to the template for understanding and illustrative purposes. The proposal relies on trending in the same manner trending is being relied on for the 1999 equalization rates. All agreed that we need more and better understanding about trending.

After lengthy discussion and with a better understanding, the entire group agreed that the proposal looks good and we should go ahead to implement this framework. In addition, we as a group would continue to explore alternative and more efficient and effective methodologies for ORPS to determine full value measurement in those assessing units not conducting timely and appropriate reassessments. Many of those ideas were put forth by this group and we will continue to discuss and simulate results from those. The criteria to be used to determine the scheduling of the 600 for completing the measured roll on a rotating basis is an area of interest for future discussion. Another area for further consideration is the needed adaptability for ORPS to conduct more frequent and more current measured roll full value measurements in areas of high density and active markets.

1999 FINAL RATES/CURRENT ROLL - CURRENT APPORTIONMENT:

The group discussed the four school districts and market value driven reasons that caused ORPS to attempt to determine final 1999 state equalization rates in time for the 1999 school and 2000 county apportions against those same 1999 rolls. A handout accompanied this discussion also and the complexity became very apparent as the four school districts involved 49 assessing units and 20 plus trend areas. This discussion was primarily around understanding the issues. Again, the group recognizes and recommends that this practice should be the rule and not the exception. Barry Miller expressed concern that with the current rate valuation standard and with what ORPS recognizes as a reassessment under current rules, he and others will lose certified schools/county status. Even if the rates are all still 100.00, this is problematic because there will no longer be common tax rates due to the assessed values which must be used to apportion taxes in accordance with RPTL 1314 and Article 8.

PROCEDURES - 1998 MARKET VALUE SURVEY/1999 EQUALIZATION RATE PRODUCTS:

Procedures had been distributed prior to the meeting. There were no surprises in them as we had been discussing all the issues in this group. There were no comments.

TRENDING PROGRESS:

Dave discussed much of the work of the trending team and the learnings of the consultant - Almy, Gloudemans and Jacobs. A final report is due on September 1. The major analytical analysis tool is a software package known as SPSS. They are doing a lot of work with regression analysis and time adjustment after the assessed value has been equalized. Results are looking very good and explainable. As soon as the report is available, we will distribute and discuss.

The next meeting is Tuesday, October 5, 1999 at the Manlius Town Hall from 10:00 a.m. to3:00 p.m. Potential agenda items are: trend report, 1999 rates progress and status, budget news, year-end report for RPTAC. Agreed that these and other topics which might develop will be put into a proposed agenda which JoAnn will distribute in mid-September.

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