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RPTAC Equalization Project Team

Wednesday, July 23, 2003
10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.; ORPS Albany Office


 Assessors:  Edye McCarthy, Roger Tibbetts, Walter Smead

 County Directors:  Paul Burckard

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

2003 Rates Status and Issues:

Pat reported that tentative 2003 State equalization rates have been established for 950 cities and towns.  The equalization rate is the same as the LOA declared by the assessor for 78 percent of these municipalities.  She said that ORPS is on schedule 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 45 municipalities have filed equalization rate complaints.  

The team discussed a letter we received from Curt Schoeberl, the assessor for the Town of Shawangunk.  Curt has several concerns about the equalization rate process.  The team decided to invite Curt to the next team meeting to discuss these concerns.  Edye volunteered to contact Curt.

Plan for 2004 Rates & Beyond:

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

-         A current year full value standard

-         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

-         Continue to confirm the LOA as the equalization rate if the difference between the LOA on the tentative roll and the initial ORPS market value ratio is less than 5 percent

-         Limit trending to three years for all municipalities

-         Conduct appraisals at least once every three years in municipalities that are not conducting reassessments

-         Do not conduct appraisals in major types that are a small percentage of a municipality

-         Continue to allow municipalities to complain about any data used to establish the tentative equalization rate

-         Pre-decisional collaboration meetings should be held in the fall of 2003.  Priority should be given to municipalities that are conducting 2004 reassessments.

The team had concerns about the following issues and decided to continue discussing them at the next team meeting:

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

-         Should we increase sample sizes?

-         Is stratification needed in sales ratio studies?

-         Should we stratify by property use instead of assessed value within major type?

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

-         Valuation of commercial property

-         Time adjustments for sales

-         Use of “retro” sample parcels

-         Trending

-         Different skill levels among CRMs

-         Is it a problem that the ORPS staff that assist the locality to conduct a reassessment also review the reassessment for equalization rate purposes?

-         Should ORPS provide assessors with the proposed responses to equalization rate complaints prior to the State Board meeting (the current process is that staff's responses are not sent to the assessor until after they have been approved by the State Board)?  

We also discussed several issues that we thought might be more appropriate for the RPTAC Valuation Team:

-         The use of CAMA modeling techniques to value the commercial and vacant classes

-         The development of market trends by property type within ORPS major type (ex. different trends for apartments, retail stores and warehouses within the commercial major type) 

-         Are there additional techniques ORPS could use to verify the commercial and vacant property classes?

-         Is ORPS confident that they are developing accurate vacant land values when market values are increasing rapidly?

-         Is ORPS accurately appraising economic units?

We decided to invite a representative from the RPTAC Valuation Team to attend our next meeting.  We also thought it would be helpful if we received periodic reports from the RPTAC Valuation Team.

Next meeting – Wednesday, October 1, 2003 in the Syracuse office of ORPS from 10-3.  We will video-conference to the ORPS Newburgh office. Proposed agenda topics include:

-         Review of 2003 rates

-         Plan for 2004 rates & beyond

-         Discuss valuation issues with a representative from the RPTAC Valuation Team