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Department of Taxation and Finance


Thursday - January 17, 2008 (1:00pm - 5:00pm)
Friday - January 18, 2008 (8:30am- 11:30am)

Facilitator: Alan Kresge
Recorders: Philly Reilly

Day 1 - Thursday, January 17, 2008
Assessors: Tom Frey, Rick Hubner, Timothy Sheares, William Quick, Larry Quinn, Cathy Conklin, Peggy Jenkins (alt.), Curt Schoeberl (alt.)
County Directors: Dave Hastings, David Jackson, Robin Johnson, Carol Holley, Jim Gonyo (alt.)
ORPS: SLee Kyriacou, Steve King, Jim O'Keeffe, Dick Harris, Dave Williams, Tim Maher, Dennis Jersey (alt), Tom Bellard (alt.), Don Card (alt.) 

  1. Leadership Updates
    • Working with DOB on Sales Fund Issues - they understand what we're up against
    • Transactions are clearly down and inconsistent
    • Fee increase was designed to get us off the General Fund - this did not work in our favor
    • We'll be working to get back on the General Fund
    • State component of administering the property tax - pricing to the people who are using it.
    • Budget presentation by Governor due Tuesday, January 22nd 
  2. Trade Secret
    • When claiming "trade secret" companies need to provide more detail - Can't just say that they're competitor and we won't share. Need to say who is competition and why it puts you at a disadvantage (strong argument against competitive bid)
    • Good information drives good value; we're frustrated that we can't give out the information to assessors
    • Currently in litigation
    • Some examples:
      • National Grid fought and was granted "Trade Secret"
      • Verizon denied  
  3. Ethics
    • New rule for this year that you have to take a course in your first year of the new term.
        • EdS is arranging additional sessions but not until April (instructor availability)
        • We will grant waivers for individuals who have completed USPAP in conjunction with training for State certified appraisers
        • There are rumors that other individuals may seek our approval to deliver a course on Ethics (IAAO). This won't be until May 2008 IAAO Northeast Regional Conference.
        • This requirement came out of the Training Governance Group and they have been involved in the development and communication
        • NYSAA, IAO is working on a course and hopes to have it approved by the 2/8 course date - someone from ORPS will sit in on the course
      • How are we communicating with assessors at large as to when and where they can take an ethics course?
    • Lee stressed the importance of ethics in this administration as evidenced by the Governors' Executive Order #1 and our need to take this seriously. It's not clear whether or not we should be training each other on it - we may want to get someone from the outside. Develop a model: e.g. hire a professional trainer and we develop the content; team teach and bring in an attorney that specializes in ethics
    • If we adopt another model, it should be global not just for ethics
    • There has been less problems with NYSAA instructors vs, ORPS instructors (Frey comment)
  4. Real Property Tax Reform (Lee Kyriacou presentation)  
  5. Future of RPTAC
    • RPT Reform Issues (Lee's presentation)
    • Use current mission statement
    • Not goal oriented - need to set goals and objectives (long and short-term)
    • Look at subcommittee roles and representation
    • Taxpayer issues - tax bills
    • Role in management of rpt system
    • Take on broader Issues

    Day 2 - Friday, January 18, 2008

    Assessors:Rick Hubner, Timothy Sheares, Larry Quinn, Cathy Conklin, Peggy Jenkins (alt.), Curt Schoeberl (alt.)
    County Directors: Dave Hastings, David Jackson, Kathleen Myers, Robin Johnson, Carol Holley, Jim Gonyo (alt.),
    ORPS: Steve King, Jim O'Keeffe, Dick Harris, Dave Williams, Tim Maher, Tom Bellard (alt.), Don Card (alt.)   

  6. Middle Class STaR Rebate Program (Tim Maher)
    Issues with the 2007 Program
    • The assessment roll was designed to administer a real property tax, it was not designed to mail rebate checks
    • The assessment roll data is contained in over 800 databases and is not consistent
    • The individual names and mailing address for taxpayers that live in mobile home parks and coops are not separately identified on the assessment rolls.
    • There were problems with property held in trust and properties with land contracts
    • The owner identified on the final assessment roll is not always the owner as of taxable status date.
    • There were problems with municipalities that levy on a prior roll.
    • There were some problems with municipalities that do not use RPSv4.
    • There were differences between the names on the assessment roll and the names on the rebate applications.
    • There were differences between the names on the rebate applications and the names on the 2005 tax returns.
    • There was a delay in the processing of many of the corrections and this raised concern for taxpayers and assessors.
    • The communication that taxpayers and assessors received from Albany was not always consistent and was not always accurate.

    2008 Middle Class STAR Rebate Program
    The assessors need to notify ORPS of any of the following changes between the 2007-08 school levy and the 2008-09 levy.

    • Information for parcels that did not receive an exemption in 2007 but receive an exemption in 2008.
    • Information for parcels that changed from basic to enhanced or enhanced to basic between 2007 and 2008.
    • Information for parcels where the owner name or mailing address has changed.
    • Information for parcels that received a STAR exemption in 2007 but do not receive a STAR exemption in 2008.

    Action: Tim Maher will convene a group to begin discussions for the 2008 iteration. Each organization will submit 2 members to participate in discussions with Department of Tax and Finance. Participant names should be submitted by February 1, 2008.   

  7. Sub-group activity
    Equalization Project Team:

    2007 Activities:
    Conducted refresher training for PDC process

    Issues for 2008

    • Review the 2008 pre-decisional collaboration (PDC) process and develop a schedule for 2009 PDC.
    • Monitor the status of PDC for 2008 rates and 2009 rates.
    • Evaluate the experiences of 2008 rates and make recommendations for future rate years.
    • Review the 2008 rate complaint process and make recommendations for future rate years.
    • Develop proposed procedures for 2009 State equalization rates.
    • Monitor the status of legislative changes that impact equalization rates.
    • Continue to communicate with the RPTAC Valuation Team regarding valuation issues that impact the establishment of accurate equalization rates.
    • Identify the changes that should be made to the equalization process as assessing unit join together to work more cooperatively.
    • Identify the changes that should be made to equalization process as we move towards a centralized database of real property tax data.
    • Review the large parcel issue and determine the potential solutions to the problem.
    • Review format for reporting - we'd like to get something electronically
    • If you request something electronically, have that request carried over year-to-year
    • Budget issues - look at what we are going to do going forward

    Valuation Issues
    Action: Comments on Valuation Issues Team Charter should be sent to Steve Beals

    Sales Processing Team
    Progress in 2007: The team did not meet in 2007.

    Issues for 2008:

    • Develop a long-term vision for sales processing.
    • Include the county clerks in our discussions and decisions so that we have their support for any improvements we make to the process.
    • Determine the intermediate steps that we can implement that move us in the direction of our long-term vision.
    • Explore how other states process sales data to see if we can learn from their practices and experiences.

    Public Education Issues
    Action: Comments on draft marketing plan should be sent to Geoff Gloak.

    • ORPS is publishing new newsletter The Property Tax Monitor
    • Newsletter will be distributed to elected local government officials
    • Check with County Assessors' Associations before distributing video (should be short version) (This was a comment by David Jackson)
    • BAR Video needs to be updated
    • Do some public education on the tax bill
    • Improve distribution and content of ORPS' Annual Report

    Property Class Code

    • Received questions and clarifications in 2007 but no new codes
    • New ORPS team member, Reesa Guarino
    • No requests for new codes
    • If a review of current property class codes is undertaken, ORPS role would be limited to an "as needed" basis due to resource constraints.
    • Take time to find out what other states are doing in this area   
  8. Legislative Update:
    • Handout and review of results of 2007 legislation and two new items introduced for 2008

    Action: Issue of Senior citizen exemption/simplify definition of income (Mike Swan) will be addressed at next meeting

  9. Other Issues


    • Handouts and information distributed to the group before meetings
    • Schedule meetings more consistent to ORPS cycle of information sharing (State of the State, Budget Information, Executive Director Calendar, etc.)
    • Meeting critique sheets

    Future Agenda Items

    • Budget News
      • Include information on Middle Class STaR
    • Real property tax reform initiative
      • Clarify distinction between efficiency and burden
    • Cornell Study
    • Sub-group report out
    • Feedback from newsletter Real Property Tax Monitor new circulation and format
    • Report out from Executive Director: My first 6 months
      • How do you see ORPS role?
        • Service vs. regulatory
    • Senior citizen exemption/simplify definition of income (Mike Swan)
    • Interim meetings if necessary   
    • Approval of NYSAAIAO course scheduled for 2/8 should be communicated ASAP.
    • What communication can ORPS give to the assessment community that there is a requirement out there?
      • Suggestion: Training Governance group can do this, but better define recipients because not all are members of various organizations. Don't use listserve  

2008 Meeting Schedule

  • April 10 and 11, June 26 & 27, September 18 & 19, No December meeting scheduled