Skip universal navigation
Skip to main content

Department of Taxation and Finance

Real Property Tax Administration

MINUTES
Thursday and Friday, March 29 and 30, 2007
Clarion Hotel, 3 Watervliet Ave. Ext. Albany, New York 12206

 Facilitator: Dave Leichenauer
Recorders: Janice Heeran
Assessors:Tom Frey, Rick Hubner, Patrick Duffy, Larry Quinn, Bill Quick, Cathy Conklin
County Directors:Dave Hastings, Caryn Kolts, Kathy Myers, John McCarey, Carol Holley
ORPS: Don DeWitt, Dick Harris, Jim O'Keeffe, Dave Williams, Steve King, Tim Maher
Others: Geoff Gloak, Sue Otis, Curt Schoeberl, Jeff Green, Tom Bellard, Tom Pinto, Matt Riordan, ORPS RPA trainee observers

DAY ONE:

Dave Leichenauer opened the meeting by welcoming everyone. Dave told RPTAC members that several trainees were in the audience to observe and asked each person to introduced themselves and give a brief narrative of their ORPS work experiences.

Minutes - Corrections will be made as suggested in email from members, also renumber the action items, Rick's sample minutes were from 1992.

  • Leadership Updates:
  • Middle Class STaR Update:

      - Don DeWitt, Steve King, Dave Williams

Don DeWitt was first speaker and said the governor's office was non-committal and stated by next meeting we might have changes. ORPS is short one board member.

Steve King - no changes in DOB's recommendation, we expect our budget to pass in its entirety. On the revenue side we suffer from a shortfall in property transfers. Last month we were 6000 sales ahead, this month, we are 15000 sales behind, and this could contribute another $ ¾ million shortfall in our budget.

Dave Williams mentioned that Teresa Frank is the new director for the Central Region.

ORPS lost John Ilacqua in December and Bob Gawrelski retired in March. Dave mentioned that ORPS has a new manager structure in the regions, a new grade 25 in the region with 3 in each office. We are close to making selections. This will affect all of the regional offices. In the past we had a regional director and area manager. Now we will have a director and 3 new 'managers' in each region to help support and manage the units. 

  1.  Tim Maher, Diane O'Donnell, Tax & Finance

Diane O'Donnell of Tax and Finance cancelled her portion of the meeting due to the recent announcement of the rebate check program. Not enough details available for her to be able to speak on the subject.

Tim Maher said that the tax relief would now also factor in "income level". Similar to last year's program it will be a rebate tied into an income structure and based on full value tax rate tied to school districts.

A question was raised if Tax and Finance will furnish information to the assessors to eliminate the opportunity of people double dipping on the tax rebate. Even though Ms. O'Donnell wasn't here today it was felt that communication will continue. Question: if you don't pay school taxes, will they receive a rebate check?

Action Item 79:
When details are available, ORPS will get together with T&F and representatives from the Assessment community to inform everyone of what's going on. (Tim Maher)

  • 511 Notices:

Jim O'Keeffe, Tom Pinto

Jim O'Keeffe opened by stated that a failure of the agency to read the statute literally (for 8 years), lead us to make sure "what ORPS is doing" and "why". He went on to quote Section 511, "In the year of a revaluation or update of assessments, the assessor shall, and in any other year may, not later than sixty days prior to the date set by law for the filing of the tentative assessment roll, mail to each owner of real property therein, an assessment disclosure notice in the form provided in paragraph (a) of subdivision two of this section…" Jim then said that assessors need to get the notices out to receive State Aid. Tom Pinto went on to explain the various processing reports and how ORPS uses them. Tom fielded questions and concerns as he went along.

Tom Frey wanted to know if the 'level of assessment column' information is mandatory or is it optional on the 511 form? He mentioned that in a previous meeting with Teresa Frank, Teresa said she had highlighted items and felt it had been agreed to as being mandatory. (Someone should check back with Teresa on this). Some in attendance felt that changing this form did not have to go before the Change Board or RPS Governance Team, but ORPS felt the proposed form change should go before the Governance Team. The other change is the typo of the Section number, it should read 511.

Action Item 80:
Report back to RPTAC on status of the two 511 notice changes.
1.) Fix the typo in the Section number, it should read "511" not "510".
2.) Is it mandatory to show Level of Assessment on the notices? If not, does a change request have to go through the RSP Governance Group's Change Control Board? (Tim Maher)

  • Dave Leichenauer

    19. The Training Governance Committee (Tom Frey) Consider adding ethics and standards to the basic training course load for all Assessors. This will be included in a one day Ethics Course (see Action Item #20).

    20. The Training Governance Committee (Tom Frey) Look into devoting one day, of the ten days of Assessor's training, solely to ethics and standards. This will be included in a one day Ethics Course -- Completed

    24. and 27. Present the data warehouse flipcharts to the E-Government Team for review and Comment. Dennis Jersey did the analysis and reported back to the group and it was stated that the data warehouse is not setup to do what everyone would like it to do. These items may resurface.

    44. Matt Riordan / Patrick Duffy. Matt will work through Patrick to collect Income Data that Sue Otis is willing to share. Matt Riordan said nothing has become of that but, Sue said she does have some information and that she will share. Open

    50. Vacancies on the Property Class Code Team need to be filled. Team is short two County Director reps, one Town Assessor rep, and one ORPS rep. Team also needs to determine a leader from within the members. Vacancy was Bruce Sauter's retirement and ORPS never backfilled. ORPS will come back with a name to fill this vacancy. Open

    55. Review of Appointment letter that went out. Letter went out without the anticipated review cycle. This action led to follow-up discussions by RPTAC members on better communication and the timelier sharing of information. Completed

    65 and 66, Regarding Mitchell-Lama. Joe Gerberg has had conversations with Tax and Finance. Jim O'Keeffe added that Bob Mark assemble information and forwarded it to Housing renewal. Tom Frey asked that Bob Mark contact him regarding this. Open

    67. Valuation issue team and the Equalization Project Team will meet to evaluate the results from the Customer Survey, as well as the work of the PDC sub-group. Tim Maher said the joint committee will meet shortly and address this issue. Open

    70. Future efforts of RPTAC. Currently 'on hold', initially wanted to meet regarding new leadership. Members are approaching from a different direction.

    73. Use ListServ to share the Girl Scout Information for RPTAC review. Rick would like this summarized in the minutes.

    74 and 75. Pull together the attendance rosters from the regional focus session. Combine the lists to generate a mailing list of participants. Draft a cover memo to share the survey results with the focus session participants. Attach the results summery and mail to all participants. Completed

    Re-visited Action Item #4. Tom Frey pointed out that editing of the BAR booklet was marked complete, but since that time, another edit has taken place. Tom would like us to discuss the most recent edits. His main concern was the choice for the title "How to contest your assessment". Don DeWitt stated that he was the one who edited this booklet and that he had decided to use the wording that was used in the statute. 'Grievance', 'challenge', 'review' and 'how to challenge your assessment' are other terms that are also used. Don DeWitt said he is willing to change or work with the assessors again to redo the wording of the title. It was mentioned that we need to be consistent with wording, in both print and on websites, so we don't confuse the public while they are searching on the Internet site for this information.

    Geoff Gloak noted that 5,000 booklets have already been printed. Don DeWitt said they would review the booklet for consistency and consider less adversarial language and report back. As for the booklets already in print, it was agreed that locals could generate their own covers before distributing them.

    Action Item 81:
    Don DeWitt will consider less adversarial language for the title and follow-up with locals using ListServ. (Don DeWitt, Geoff Gloak

  • Larry Quinn, Dave Leichenauer

    Themes for RPTAC to Address - Prioritize Issues and Group Focus

    Dave Leichenauer started this item off by thanking the breakout group for all their efforts. It was their hard work that consolidated all the information gathered during the Regional Focus Sessions, into a manageable three page document. Members agreed that we will ask for new volunteers, if work from a break-out group is again called for. Larry Quinn took the floor and outlined dates the break-out group held discussions. Through those discussions, it was agreed that there were 14 items under consideration. Twelve of those items could be reasonably sorted into 8 workable topic areas. The remaining two items were clearly out of RPTAC's control and RPTAC's area of influence.

    The first of those two items could be forwarded to the Governor's Office - "The real property tax is relied upon too heavily".

    The second item to consider forwarding was "Examine the entire real property tax structure". There were a variety of comments from the regional focus sessions, regarding the size of assessing units, changing the borders of assessing units to correspond to school district boundaries, eliminating elected assessors, and examining systems in other states. These topic areas should go to the Blue Ribbon Commission (when established).

    RPTAC members agreed that even though RPTAC is not going to work on these two items, the committee should consider following up with letters to those in the position to properly deal with these issues. We should follow through with our efforts and hopefully one or two issues will get acted upon by the Governor or the Blue Ribbon Commission. Some members asked if ORPS is comfortable being included. Don DeWitt questions OPRS involvement with writing letters and wants to look into it before making a decision.

    Dave Leichenauer then pointed out 8 flipcharts hanging on the walls. He explained that the charts displayed the data from the three pages of consolidated material. The charts had the information for each of the 8 topic areas, one topic area per flipchart. The group was walked through each chart, clarifying the issues and building on each of the topic areas. This was also designed for all members to better define and understand each topic area. The following material resulted from the discussions. Numbered items came from the Regional Focus Sessions. Items in BOLD were added during RPTAC discussions

    FLIPCHART (1) Titled: State Aid and Reassessment Cycle
    #2 - The current practice of providing aid to municipalities that assess annually at 100% of market value is too restrictive. There were multiple comments that State Aid should be paid for an equitable assessment roll, regardless of the assessment level.

    #3 - There is a desire for the State to require reassessment at some periodic interval. The desired length of this interval varies dependent upon who is commenting, but something other than an annual requirement seems to be acceptable.

    #7 - State aid is generally perceived as a positive, with some exceptions. However, there is frustration that the aid does not always get cycled back to assessment administration functions and is often perceived as an insufficient incentive. There is also a desire for aid to be paid municipalities that collect and maintain good quality inventory and valuation data.

    -
        Aid money not enough

        - Is there a measurement of equity

        - Current methodology encourages trending

        - Standardized test for uniformity

      - Getting away from appraisers more towards statistics

    FLIPCHART (2) Titled: Exemption Administration
    #4 - Exemption administration is a problem. Many comments addressed the amount of resource necessary to administer various exemption provisions. Most of the exemption issues pointed to resource problems, as there were only limited comments regarding the erosion of the tax base due to exemptions.

    -
      Large amount of resources necessary to administer exemptions

    FLIPCHART (3) Titled: Sharing of Best Practices and Resources
    #6 - There is a need for more intergovernmental cooperation. Comments indicate a desire for more collaborative/cooperative relationships between all three levels of government (Municipal, County and State).
    #12 - Lack of resources (staffing, knowledge, money, data, tolls and time) is a major roadblock to attain and maintain equitable assessments.

    -
        Lack of resources to administer exemptions

        - Facilitate the sharing of information

        - Put something in place

        - Ag and markets - SUNY

      - Public relations - best practices

    FLIPCHART (4) Titled: Public Information
    #8 - There is a lack of political support for equity and a lack of understanding of the assessment function. Most comments were relative to the local municipal Boards; however a few comments were directed at State level "political will". Some comments indicate that local municipal political support is affected by a lack of understanding by the municipal decision makers.
    #13 - Taxpayers do not understand the Real Property Tax. The media can often add further confusion.

      •  
            BAR /SCAR process

            Re-assessment cycle

          State Aid
    -
        We have a chance to educate

        - If media gives out the correct information, it can be helpful - favorable.

        - Need to get the word 'equity' back into the community

        - Tax Bill format: inaccurate, errors on bills where budgets go up or down

        - Legal to add info to tax bills (?)

        - Equity - legislators don't understand

        - Informing the public through "existing" structure

      - Educate different bodies, Local level and legislators on: - At times, Taxpayers uninformed on what politicians are telling them

    FLIPCHART (5) Titled: BAR/SCAR
    #9 - The Board of Assessment Review and Small Claims Assessment review processes, and the individuals involved, often do not support equity.

    -
        Every hearing officer should go through BAR training.

        - Those that determine 'value', should know HOW to determine value.

        - Training

        - BAR destroys revalues (equity)

        - Training needs improvement

        - Knowledge - how to determine value

        - Local munis should be able to appeal decisions

      - No more material to a SCAR that was brought to the BAR.

    FLIPCHART (6) Titled: Training/Education
    #10 There is a lack of qualified, trained assessment administration officials. Training is essential to help with this problem. Training of the assessor's staff would also be helpful.

    -
        training is essential

      - training of assessors staff would be helpful

    FLIPCHART (7) Titled: Valuation Data
    #11 Valuation data is generally lacking or hard to get. Some communities have very little data available in their own community. An improved means for sharing of data may help this situation.

    -
      Data needs to be improved

    FLIPCHART (8) Titled: ORPS Products and Services
    #14 The products and the support provided by ORPS, can still be improved. Ex.: RPS, CRMs, Equalization rates and advisory appraisals.

    -
        consistency or lack there off

        - regional / statewide differences

      - Customer survey areas are being addressed

    After reviewing the flipcharts, Dave asked members to think about prioritizing the 8 topic areas. Each RPTAC member was given 4 colored post-it notes and then asked to apply them to the flipcharts. The idea was to put post-its (votes) on the topic areas that RPTAC should consider focusing its energy in 2007, try to find common ground for our future efforts.

    The colors used: ORPS - Yellow, Town Assessors - Blue, County Directors - Green

    The voting results were:

    TOPIC
    AREA
    NYS
    ORPS
    TOWN
    ASSESSORS
    COUNTY
    DIRECTORS
    TOTAL
    VOTES
    State Aid/Reassessment Cycle 5 3 6 14
    Exemption Administration 0 1 0 1
    Share Best Practices-Resources 2 4 3 9
    Public Information 5 5 5 15
    BAR/SCAR 2 1 3 6
    Training/Education 4 3 3 10
    Valuation Data 3 4 1 8
    ORPS Products and Services 3 3 3 9

    The Topic Area selected was "Public Information". Dave Leichenauer asked the committee members to think about this choice overnight, and noted that the group would re-visit the voting in the morning. End of Day One.

    Day 2 - Friday, March 30, 2007:

    Dave Leichenauer opened the meeting with a review of yesterday's topics and the action items that came about through discussion. He went on to review the upcoming agenda

  • Larry Quinn, Dave Leichenauer

    Themes for RPTAC to Address - Prioritize Issues and Group Focus

    Dave Leichenauer started this item off by thanking the breakout group for all their efforts. It was their hard work that consolidated all the information gathered during the Regional Focus Sessions, into a manageable three page document. Members agreed that we will ask for new volunteers, if work from a break-out group is again called for. Larry Quinn took the floor and outlined dates the break-out group held discussions. Through those discussions, it was agreed that there were 14 items under consideration. Twelve of those items could be reasonably sorted into 8 workable topic areas. The remaining two items were clearly out of RPTAC's control and RPTAC's area of influence.

    The first of those two items could be forwarded to the Governor's Office - "The real property tax is relied upon too heavily".

    The second item to consider forwarding was "Examine the entire real property tax structure". There were a variety of comments from the regional focus sessions, regarding the size of assessing units, changing the borders of assessing units to correspond to school district boundaries, eliminating elected assessors, and examining systems in other states. These topic areas should go to the Blue Ribbon Commission (when established).

    RPTAC members agreed that even though RPTAC is not going to work on these two items, the committee should consider following up with letters to those in the position to properly deal with these issues. We should follow through with our efforts and hopefully one or two issues will get acted upon by the Governor or the Blue Ribbon Commission. Some members asked if ORPS is comfortable being included. Don DeWitt questions OPRS involvement with writing letters and wants to look into it before making a decision.

    Dave Leichenauer then pointed out 8 flipcharts hanging on the walls. He explained that the charts displayed the data from the three pages of consolidated material. The charts had the information for each of the 8 topic areas, one topic area per flipchart. The group was walked through each chart, clarifying the issues and building on each of the topic areas. This was also designed for all members to better define and understand each topic area. The following material resulted from the discussions. Numbered items came from the Regional Focus Sessions. Items in BOLD were added during RPTAC discussions

    FLIPCHART (1) Titled: State Aid and Reassessment Cycle
    #2 - The current practice of providing aid to municipalities that assess annually at 100% of market value is too restrictive. There were multiple comments that State Aid should be paid for an equitable assessment roll, regardless of the assessment level.

    #3 - There is a desire for the State to require reassessment at some periodic interval. The desired length of this interval varies dependent upon who is commenting, but something other than an annual requirement seems to be acceptable.

    #7 - State aid is generally perceived as a positive, with some exceptions. However, there is frustration that the aid does not always get cycled back to assessment administration functions and is often perceived as an insufficient incentive. There is also a desire for aid to be paid municipalities that collect and maintain good quality inventory and valuation data.

        - Aid money not enough

        - Is there a measurement of equity

        - Current methodology encourages trending

        - Standardized test for uniformity

      - Getting away from appraisers more towards statistics

    FLIPCHART (2) Titled: Exemption Administration
    #4 - Exemption administration is a problem. Many comments addressed the amount of resource necessary to administer various exemption provisions. Most of the exemption issues pointed to resource problems, as there were only limited comments regarding the erosion of the tax base due to exemptions.

      - Large amount of resources necessary to administer exemptions

    FLIPCHART (3) Titled: Sharing of Best Practices and Resources
    #6 - There is a need for more intergovernmental cooperation. Comments indicate a desire for more collaborative/cooperative relationships between all three levels of government (Municipal, County and State).
    #12 - Lack of resources (staffing, knowledge, money, data, tolls and time) is a major roadblock to attain and maintain equitable assessments.

        - Lack of resources to administer exemptions

        - Facilitate the sharing of information

        - Put something in place

        - Ag and markets - SUNY

      - Public relations - best practices

    FLIPCHART (4) Titled: Public Information
    #8 - There is a lack of political support for equity and a lack of understanding of the assessment function. Most comments were relative to the local municipal Boards; however a few comments were directed at State level "political will". Some comments indicate that local municipal political support is affected by a lack of understanding by the municipal decision makers.
    #13 - Taxpayers do not understand the Real Property Tax. The media can often add further confusion.

      •  
            BAR /SCAR process

            Re-assessment cycle

          State Aid
      • - We have a chance to educate

        - If media gives out the correct information, it can be helpful - favorable.

        - Need to get the word 'equity' back into the community

        - Tax Bill format: inaccurate, errors on bills where budgets go up or down

        - Legal to add info to tax bills (?)

        - Equity - legislators don't understand

        - Informing the public through "existing" structure

      - Educate different bodies, Local level and legislators on: - At times, Taxpayers uninformed on what politicians are telling them

    FLIPCHART (5) Titled: BAR/SCAR
    #9 - The Board of Assessment Review and Small Claims Assessment review processes, and the individuals involved, often do not support equity.

        - Every hearing officer should go through BAR training.

        - Those that determine 'value', should know HOW to determine value.

        - Training

        - BAR destroys revalues (equity)

        - Training needs improvement

        - Knowledge - how to determine value

        - Local munis should be able to appeal decisions

      - No more material to a SCAR that was brought to the BAR.

    FLIPCHART (6) Titled: Training/Education
    #10 There is a lack of qualified, trained assessment administration officials. Training is essential to help with this problem. Training of the assessor's staff would also be helpful.

        - training is essential

      - training of assessors staff would be helpful

    FLIPCHART (7) Titled: Valuation Data
    #11 Valuation data is generally lacking or hard to get. Some communities have very little data available in their own community. An improved means for sharing of data may help this situation.

      - Data needs to be improved

    FLIPCHART (8) Titled: ORPS Products and Services
    #14 The products and the support provided by ORPS, can still be improved. Ex.: RPS, CRMs, Equalization rates and advisory appraisals.

        - consistency or lack there off

        - regional / statewide differences

      - Customer survey areas are being addressed

    After reviewing the flipcharts, Dave asked members to think about prioritizing the 8 topic areas. Each RPTAC member was given 4 colored post-it notes and then asked to apply them to the flipcharts. The idea was to put post-its (votes) on the topic areas that RPTAC should consider focusing its energy in 2007, try to find common ground for our future efforts.

    The colors used: ORPS - Yellow, Town Assessors - Blue, County Directors - Green

    The voting results were:

    TOPIC
    AREA
    NYS
    ORPS
    TOWN
    ASSESSORS
    COUNTY
    DIRECTORS
    TOTAL
    VOTES
    State Aid/Reassessment Cycle 5 3 6 14
    Exemption Administration 0 1 0 1
    Share Best Practices-Resources 2 4 3 9
    Public Information 5 5 5 15
    BAR/SCAR 2 1 3 6
    Training/Education 4 3 3 10
    Valuation Data 3 4 1 8
    ORPS Products and Services 3 3 3 9

    The Topic Area selected was "Public Information". Dave Leichenauer asked the committee members to think about this choice overnight, and noted that the group would re-visit the voting in the morning. End of Day One.

    Day 2 - Friday, March 30, 2007:

    Dave Leichenauer opened the meeting with a review of yesterday's topics and the action items that came about through discussion. He went on to review the upcoming agenda

Larry Quinn, Dave Leichenauer

  • - Define the problems, set reachable goals, and develop a plan of action including a timeline (if possible)

    Now that RPTAC has decided to focus its 2007 efforts on Public Information, members began discussions on what else can be folded into the topic of "Public Information"? Today's intention is to build on the ideas from Thursday and to brainstorm related ideas that merit consideration, as well. Dave Leichenauer asked the committee to keep in mind the following questions as we move through our discussions. Are there items from the seven other topic areas that relate to "Public Information"? Is there anything in our unaddressed action items or in recent RPTAC minutes that fits into "Public Information"?

    Public Information (Regional; Sessions / Thursday's efforts)
    #8 - There is a lack of political support for equity and a lack of understanding of the assessment function. Most comments were relative to the local municipal Boards; however a few comments were directed at State level "political will". Some comments indicate that local municipal political support is affected by a lack of understanding by the municipal decision makers.
    #13 - Taxpayers do not understand the Real Property Tax. The media can often add further confusion.

          1. BAR /SCAR process

            Re-assessment cycle

          State Aid
      1. - We have a chance to educate

        - If media gives out the correct information, it can be helpful - favorable.

        - Need to get the word 'equity' back into the community

        - Tax Bill format: inaccurate, errors on bills where budgets go up or down

        - Legal to add info to tax bills

        - Equity - legislators don't understand

        - Informing the public through "existing" structure

      - Educate different bodies, Local level and legislators on: - At times, Taxpayers uninformed on what politicians are telling them

    The following items were brought up for discussion and added to the "Public information" Brainstorming Flipcharts:
    Geoff Gloak asked if there was a "role of training" involved in public information and who would/should be doing this sort of work.

      - instruct those "responsible to train", how to train

    'Public Information' informing the public of the flaws in the system, ex. The Condo Bill. (Explain what's wrong). Once the public becomes aware of these gapping loop holes, they would like action taken on this.

    Public Speaking Training for locals - "How to "

    'Public information' is education, informing different groups of people.

    State level leadership is making "Real Property Tax" an everyday word; the topic will never be more "in the public's eye". A Public Information effort would be very timely. How can RPTAC take advantage of the attention?

    Reassessment cycle should be incorporated into public information.

    State aid portion is always an issue, convince the legislatures that's it's a viable thing to fund, or convince the local level.

    Public information is it taxpayers or government bodies?
    Training should target muni-level government as they are the most misinformed (?)

    Best practices in PR, how do others promote and inform Taxpayers, Town Boards, and Municipal Leaders? Who does it well? Share the successful "plan" with other assessors. What are other states doing for Real Property Public Relations? Who does it well?

    If there is education through public info programs, part of it should result in better resources to do a better job.
    To educate the Taxpayers, Town Boards, and Municipal Leaders might lead to more funds.

    We should consider the resources that are available to undertake the initiative of training/educating. The ORPS video was done very well. We should utilize more efficiently and we should have more pamphlets made available.

    There is a multitude of information in tremendous detail, but getting to it in order and bringing it down to a workable size, how do we really make this work? A suggestion was to 'package' it. Ex. Similar to what hotels do when they want you to utilize their property.

    Perhaps RPTAC should consider developing a course on home ownership at the high school, junior college or adult education level. Much discussion on this idea and most felt that high school kids have other priorities. The junior college and adult education levels do have merit. The Real Property Tax learning curve needs to be done before taxpayers purchase their first homes. Now days, most taxpayers wait until there's "a need to know". It's take a situation to motivate a taxpayer to learn more ("Just in time" training).

    Check into the NYSAC education for every newly elected official for towns/counties. AOT does this in a session. Make this a part of continuing education for officials. Also public speaking courses should be available.

    A public notice in a newspaper does not bring the public into meetings. An individual mailing might work better. This has worked for some munis but not others.

    BAR/SCAR subgroup is just as difficult to tackle. They do have continuing ed. every couple of years, perhaps we should present more.

    More viewers for the 30 minute ORPS video - promote use with public access TV, town board presentations, board of review class.

    Try to be less "passive" and more pro-active by how you label an effort, Ex.: "Real Property Public Relations Plan".

    Dave Williams stepped up and made a suggestion. His proposed that we create a table with headers designed to sort and group 'ideas". The headers on the top define groups that need "Public Information": General Public, Local Government, State-level leadership. The labels down the side were "Immediate Need" and "General Education".

    Chart One

    Need General Public Local Government State Level Leadership
    Immediate Rotate the select buttons on the top of the webpage, or put in a separate link at the top of the web page to promote timely issues on our homepage. Develop another website that only addresses how to challenge your assessment, reviewing your assessment etc. , exemptions, STaR Town Boards - Education members at Reappointment time and budget times (it takes resources to educate, with the hope of "a return" for the efforts at budget time). When someone calls in, where do they call? Most call the Legal office, or an Executive Office and calls are then referred to proper parties.
    Immediate History of the Real Property Tax
    Immediate Organize ORPS website:
    - Topics for the general Public
    - "Package" material by need
    - Links to the timely information, The more "Public" of RPT information, to keep inquirer's attention
    Send the Uniform Standard publication to the Chair of the NYS Real Property Tax Committee, as well as, all other Legislators and their Staff. Send a special targeted issue pertaining to just legislators; first issue should be an introductory issue of what this publication is all about. Discuss what should be included in these targeted issues
    General Education Real Property Course (web based) SCAR Training - Assessors Training of hearing officers Should have to watch ORPS Video Reformat / redesign the tax bill. What else can be done?
    General Education Train librarians on how to access web pages to find info for the public on assessments (ORPS video) Job of the Assessor needs to be circulated more widely. Enclosures not allowed in tax bills
    General Education Educate the Press Redesign web pages of local govt. and add a link to information Can RPTAC Publish articles in the Legislative Gazette
    General Education Piggyback information in mailings (local focus on frequently asked questions) ***Standardized Information Sheet. Does not require any more resources than we currently have to do this. Share best practices where reassessments have taken place or will take place. Public relations presentation Educate and then use Tax Payer Groups, who in turn educate local Officials
    General Education Tax bills Education
    General Education Overall History of Real Property Tax Seek "Best Practices" info for other situations
    General Education Info sheet for new property owners (point of sale)

    RPTAC members selected items to take action on from the Chart One ideas.

    Chart Two

    Task What Who When
    Discuss SCAR process Agenda item at next meeting Jim O'Keeffe will Invite ORPS staff June
    Uniform Standard A special issue geared towards legislators Possible topics:
    - history of real property tax
    - generic info basis of real property tax
    Geoff Gloak Email with findings
    Banner info on website Rotate banner info for timely issues (scroll function ?) Geoff Gloak & Tom Rutnik Email findings
    Organization of website information Demo at next session Geoff Gloak Presentation in June
    Research IAAO information on public relations Bring back data for group Tom Frey For June session

    Action Item 82:
    RPTAC will meet with ORPS staff responsible for SCAR training. This will be an agenda item at the June session. Jim O'Keeffe will bring material and ORPS staff to discuss the SCAR hearing officer training. (Jim O'Keeffe)

    Action Item 83:
    Look into publishing a special edition of the Uniform Standard, geared towards legislators and their staff. Geoff will get back to RPTAC through ListServ with options. (Geoff Gloak)

    Action Item 84:
    Meet with ORPS staff about staying current with the information carried on the website banner. Rotate the banner information to be in sink with timely issues throughout the year. At the same, time find out if the ORPS Website has a Scroll function? Geoff will get back to RPTAC through ListServ with options. (Geoff Gloak)

    Action Item 85:
    It is a common belief that most of the information needed to understand the Real Property Tax System is already on the ORPS Website. RPTAC would like a walk through type Demo of "What" is out on the ORPS website and "Where" it can be found. Geoff will work with Tom Rutnik to organize a demo for the June session. (Geoff Gloak)

    Action Item 86:
    Research what information the IAAO has available for Public Relations. Is there anything dealing with Best Practices and/or Recommended Guidelines (?) Share results with committee through ListServ, prior to next meeting. (Tom Frey)

    Dave Williams pointed out that members are hitting on a few of the easy items, but we should be setting RPTAC goals much higher. Our committee needs to pick a larger issue to take on.

    One idea that might have an impact is the development of a "Public Information Tool". The Goal would be to create a user friendly "vehicle" that allows taxpayers easy access to the tools and knowledge needed to understand the Real Property Tax System. We all agree that most of the tools and information needed are already accessible through internet. RPTAC's job would be to direct targeted groups such as, Taxpayers, Local level government and State level leadership, to the tools and information "of value" for each of the groups. Limit their first look at the Real Property Tax System to what each group most likely "needs to know".

    Working out the logistics of such a tool is only half of the job. Once developed, how would RPTAC "market" our new idea to the targeted groups? RPTAC can have the best ideas but without a commitment to follow-up, our message will not get out. Questions regarding follow-up were raised and need to be thought about. Where do the resources come from to administer our plan? Who takes ownership? Who moves this effort forward? Dave W. went on to encourage members to think about these things and we'll have RPTAC expand on this idea at our next session. The group agreed that another communication show be sent to the original regional focus session participants. The communication is intended to keep early participants up-to-date on what we are doing with their session results

    Action Item 87:
    Draft and send a second communication to regional focus session participants bringing them up-to-date on RPTAC efforts so far. (Break-out Group members)

    Meeting Wrap Up Dave Leichenauer

    Dave made a quick review of agenda items for the June Session.
    Topics for next Agenda:

    1. Staff responsible for SCAR training will come in and meet with RPTAC
    2. DEMO on the Organization of ORPS web site info,
          Set up laptop with projector/ review web site

        Invite Tom Rutnik or Cheryl Winter to attend/present
    3. Tom Frey will discuss outcome of IAAO public relations

    Dave then thanked everyone for all their efforts over the past two days. He reminded members to fill-out the Evaluation Sheets, handed out earlier, and stated that he would compile the results and share them with members through ListServ.

    Next Meeting:
    DATE: Thursday June 21, 2007 - 1:00PM - 5:00PM,
    and Friday June 22, 2007 - 8:30AM - 12:00PM

    LOCATION: Clarion Hotel, 3 Watervliet Ave. Ext. Albany, New York 12206

Updated: