RPTAC EQUALIZATION SUBCOMMITTEE
MEETING OF WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 11, 2000
10:00 A.M. - 3:00 P.M.; MANLIUS TOWN HALL
Assessors: Barbara Bounds, Dave Briggs, Val Martins, Fred Pask, Roger Tibbetts
County Directors:Tom Bloodgood, Rick Dean, Bob Diener
ORPS: Pat Holland, Tim Maher, Jim O'Keeffe, JoAnn Whalen (Recorder)
*Freeze legislation results-28 assessing units affected with only a handful, 4-6, avoiding a big impact had the legislation not been enacted. *Summary available in January. Most significant for equalization is the authority to use 100% for reassessment rolls instead of using a mathematical change in level adjustment. This legislation will not be used as much as anticipated because we are doing more current rates-the preferable manner to get the rate of 100% for current year reassessments. *Jim discussed and distributed two recent equalization court decisions-the Towns of Yorktown and Greenburgh. History of equalization court cases reviewed and how these recent decisions follow the historical route with the court recognizing and confirming the full value measurement procedures as being well within the authority of the statues. *Railroad proposed legislation. There is political support to reduce the tax burden borne by railroads in New York State but nothing passed in the 2000 legislative session. *Internet access-working to give access to court decisions with a link through ORPS home page.
2000 CURRENT RATES:
Tim discussed the process used in finalizing 491 final rates in time for the 2000 school apportionment. County directors felt they should have been better informed and more in the communication loop as they frequently are the first to get calls. Also some confusion in some towns, specifics discussed, because of ORPS being unsure until later in the process exactly where they could finalize or assessing units in a school district being able to and filing rate complaints which lengthened the process and jeopardized/prevented the entire school district from having current rates. Everyone agreed that more communi- cation and sooner is better and we now have the ability to issue tentative rates on tentative rolls which will allow us to start the process sooner. This discussion raised a previously discussed topic in which we talked about eliminating the assessor's annual report (AAR) if the change of level is less than 2%. This would eliminate the need to wait until after July 1 to issue final rates and would make final rates much sooner-even if the assessing unit does elect to challenge the rate. Tim will research this idea and bring a proposal back to the group for consideration. As a result of the number of current rates, we were able to decrease the number of special rates from 120 to 62. As of today, there are only 90 more tentative 2000 rates to be issued and they are being processed as soon as the data is available. The projection now is that at least 22 counties will have final 2000 rates in time for the 2001 county apportionment process. There was much discussion around the need to issue current rates in a more even distribution across the state. The majority of 2000 current rates were in the Western and Central regions but there is awareness to include more of the State and work plans reflecting the goals of current rates statewide by 2003.
2001 EQUALIZATION RATES:
Jo Ann and Jim discussed, with flip chart data and accompanying handouts, some inconsistencies between the language in RPTL 1200 and market value survey rules, 186-1.15 and 186-2.17. Essentially, the statue gives us wide authority and has been heavily relied upon by the courts. These rules, which were approved only 4-5 years ago and believed to be very futuristic thinking are already out of step with the progress we have already made in the equalization program with current rates. We also need to be aware of the direction of equalization, planned to be implemented for 2002 rates, which will make it more similar to equalization in other states in that ORPS will be moving toward the verification of the stated level of assessment. This is made possible by the statutory requirement, starting with the 2000 tentative assessment rolls, that each assessor must state his/her level of assessment. After discussion of the issues and implementation concerns, Jim distributed draft rule changes and pointed out the major areas of change. Recommended changes were included and Tim will be working on accompanying procedures. The entire package will be distributed to GORR, respective organization leaders and each member of this group shortly, probably within a week and the comment period will start. There was concern expressed about expanding the time frame for trending but that was balanced by the intention and need to move forward to get to an equalization program which would verify the stated level of assessment on the current roll in the future. The group endorsed the proposed changes but the progress made relative to the verification of a stated level, especially for those not doing annual or triennial reassessments will be a future agenda item for this group.
LEVEL of ASSESSMENT VERIFICATION-2002/FUTURE EQUALIZATION RATES:
Pat Holland continued the discussion around future changes in the full value measurement program primarily in those assessing units not conducting reassessments. The verification of the level of assessment has been done for recent/current reassessments for a number of years. ORPS is studying nationally recognized practices with common standards to implement the same type of processes in assessing units which have not conducted recent/current reassessments. The implementation of this process is planned to start with the 2002 rates. Pat reviewed data and progress made since the last meeting. ORPS committed to share with this group data analysis and simulations as they occur and in the same manner as the practices used for the full value measurement redesign. The group recognizes the feasibility and practicality of the use of nationally recognized standards-ratio studies and or CAMA modeling to the greatest extent possible. Just as important in the equalization process is recognition that ORPS needs to work much more up front with assessing units implementing annual/triennial programs so there are no surprises relative to equalization after the fact.
This team's charter requires an annual written report, documenting our progress, planned future topics and recommendation for continuation to RPTAC. Jo Ann will draft the report, distribute for comments and finalization for the December 2000 RPTAC meeting. Also agreed that if the need arises, we can convene a meeting sooner.
Next meeting Wednesday March 21, 2001 from 10-3 in Manlius. Proposed topics: 2001 current rates-status and plans; verification of stated level progress and status; budget information; annual reassessment status and participants.