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Minutes - Real Property Tax Administration Committee

 

Real Property Tax Administration Committee

Minutes: February 1 - February 2, 2012

Location: Colonie (Albany County)

In Attendance Day 1

Assessors

  • Cathy Conklin
  • Tom Frey
  • Randy Holcomb
  • Peggy Jenkins
  • Curt Schoeberl
  • Denise Trudell
  • Sue Otis

County Directors

  • Dawn Allen
  • Steve Harris
  • John McCarey
  • Tim Murphy
  • Laura VanValkenburg
  • Paul Warneck

ORPTS

  • Tom Bellard
  • Teresa Frank
  • Joe Gerberg
  • Pat Holland
  • Tim Maher
  • Susan Savage

Facilitator - Alan Kresge

Recorder - Geoff Gloak

 

 

Get Organized

Alan welcomed new RPTAC member Steve Harris (Chenango County Director) replacing Robin Johnson.

The assessors raised concerns about a discussion that was not included in the October minutes.   ORPTS asked if the assessors wanted to add something to the minutes.  At the suggestion of the county directors, the minutes were tabled until the following meeting.  

In today's agenda, Items B and D will be combined.  

Action Item Review (see handout):

  • 96 - The Directors added Steve Harris to the E-RPT subcommittee.
  • 97 - Former ORPS head Vic Mallison met with an OCA representative from Nassau County regarding the SCAR program in the county. Assessors and Directors reported that, in some areas, the judges overseeing SCAR are encouraging settlements. This is not an area over which ORPTS has jurisdiction.
  • 98 - Leave open.

Agency Update

Susan Savage thanked the members of RPTAC for their efforts.  

With the resolution of the PEF contract, ORPTS staffing remains stable.   The division continues to provide the anticipated level of service.

In regard to ORPTS and assessment community-related funds, there were no reductions over last year in the Governor's Proposed 2012-13 Executive Budget.

Legislative Update / Proposal to Remove STAR Exemptions from Delinquent Taxpayers

Paul Miller reviewed the RPT-related bills that may be of interest to the group (see handout).  

A question was raised regarding whether a change to RPSV4 was related to silvopasturing.   Pat Holland will bring the question back to RPS staff.

Joe Gerberg explained the oil and gas fee extender and the proposal to remove STAR exemptions from delinquent taxpayers.  

In regard to the STAR proposal, for STAR to be removed for a given school year, the assessor would have to be notified by the Tax Department before July 1 of that year.   The assessors raised concerns about their role in dealing with angry taxpayers.  ORPTS assured them that the avenue for taxpayers to complain is directly to the Tax Department.   Once a taxpayer whose exemption was removed is cleared by the Department as again eligible for STAR, the assessor would again be notified.   Paul Warneck suggested that a programmatic change be made to RPSV4 to allow for batch updating to the assessment roll.   ORPTS agreed to explore Paul's suggestion.  

The assessors asked if the letter to taxpayers could specify that the Department, not the assessor, is removing the exemption.   ORPTS will take the concern into account when the letter is developed.   In addition, ORPTS will communicate to RPTAC if the division gets verification that the proposal, if passed, would not apply to the 2012 assessment roll and 2012-13 school tax bills.  

Assessors' Association Legislative Agenda

Sue Otis ran the group through the agenda.

RP-5217 Bar Code Pilot Project

Colleen Benson discussed the pilot project currently in 5 counties.   The assessors raised questions about the impacts  when the assessor will no longer receive paper copies of the forms.

  • Action Item #104 - ORPTS (Joe Gerberg) will draft a statement that the original RP-5217 will be retained by the county and the town, though it can be retained in an electronic format.

2012 Process for STAR $500,000 Income Limit

Pat Holland reported that the Department has been working to refine the list of Undetermined STAR recipients.   The reports should be available soon.  

The assessors asked about the status of the STAR "double-dipper" process.   ORPTS is looking at the data.  

Forms Review Team

Joe Gerberg discussed the forms review process that includes members of RPTAC.   No changes necessary.

1st Day Wrap-Up

  • Tax Department Property Tax Collection Pilot Project - The assessors asked about the status of the project. ORPTS explained that it is under discussion with NYCOM and no pilot has begun.

 

  • Property Tax Cap - Paul Warneck asked how the cap is calculated in the case of a transfer of a function/chargeback from a county to a town. ORPTS said the question should be answered by the Comptroller's Office.

 

In Attendance Day 2

Assessors

  • Cathy Conklin
  • Tom Frey
  • Randy Holcomb
  • Peggy Jenkins
  • Curt Schoeberl
  • Denise Trudell
  • Sue Otis

County Directors

  • Dawn Allen
  • John McCarey
  • Tim Murphy
  • Laura VanValkenburg
  • Paul Warneck

ORPTS

  • Tom Bellard
  • Paul Szwedo
  • Joe Gerberg
  • Pat Holland
  • Tim Maher
  • Susan Savage

Facilitator - Alan Kresge

Recorder - Geoff Gloak

Potential Utility Ceiling Assessment

Tom Frey asked about the status of possible utility ceiling assessment legislation.   ORPTS reported that it's open to the concept but may have concerns about specific proposals.  

Subgroup Updates

  • Valuation Issues Team
  • 3 new property class codes are being added for small, medium and large retail businesses (457, 456, 453)
  • Valuation Manual
  • § Forestry Section- no significant changes planned
  • § Commercial Section - Appendices are being modified
  • § Residential Section - The definitions of Ranch and Manufactured Housing are being clarified. The team is requesting a new structure code from Marshall Swift for the residential sheds
  • Equalization Team
  • The assessors requested that the team meet on predecisional collaboration - the meeting will be scheduled for March
  • Sales Processing Team
  • Nothing to report - current focus is on RP-5217-PDF bar coded form

Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee Assessment Relief Act

Paul Szwedo of ORPTS described the program and provided a status of ORPTS's efforts to provide information and forms for taxpayers and the assessment community.

  • Action Item #105 - Geoff will send notice to the assessment community when the FAQs are posted to the Web site.
  • Action Item #106 - ORPTS will make the March 8 deadline explicitly clear on the Web site and/or the form. (If the deadline is changed by legislation, ORPTS will also communicate that.)

The assessors asked if taxpayers could use the standard RP-524 form or if they could use the modified version (RP-56-BAR).   ORPTS responded that the forms developed specifically for this program are not mandatory and the taxpayer could use either form.  The county directors made the suggestion that, if the original taxpayer request is denied by the assessor, the assessor could include the RP-56-BAR with the notice to the taxpayer.  

As for SCAR and Article 7, if the BAR denies a taxpayer's request, ORPTS  said the law is unclear regarding judicial review.    In regard to SCAR, the decision would be made by the hearing officer or the judicial district.

Training Update

Paul Szwedo updated the team on the status of 2011-12 training funds.  

Regarding the proposed Rules to change the required number of continuing education credits from 24 to 12, the target date for the publication of the draft Rules is February 15.   At that time, the 45-day public comment period would begin.  

The assessors raised concerns about some of the wording of the "Statement in Lieu of a Regulatory Flexibility Analysis for Small Businesses and Local Governments."   The assessors said the language suggests that all county directors were speaking on behalf of some assessors within their counties based on the previous sentence that mentioned that the directors were unanimous in their support of reducing the requirement.   ORPTS responded that they were two independent thoughts.

The assessors also raised concerns that the amended Rules would be retroactive to October 1, 2011.   ORPTS stated that, if the Rule change is adopted and any assessor has already obtained more than 12 credits in the current training year, the assessing unit will not be required to pay back reimbursement for the credits over 12 and that up to 12 credits would be banked to the next training year.  

The assessors also expressed concern with what they perceive is a lack of involvement of the Training Advisory Group in regard to the proposed Rules changes. ORPTS responded that the rule changes were discussed in a meeting of the group, the group members had differing opinions, and those opinions were considered.

The assessors asked if the comments on the draft Rules are made public.   ORPTS is required to prepare an "Assessment of Public Comment" that would include, at least, a summary of the comments received.   ORPTS responded that all comments received must be addressed in the Assessment; similar comments can be addressed as a group.  

Update on Property Tax Cap

Tim Maher gave an update on the cap.   ORPTS expects to publish the tax base growth factors earlier this year than last year.   Discussion with the assessors and directors centered on the calculation of growth factors in regard to pilots.

Solar Panels

Tony Ilacqua reported on the 2 RPS codes for solar panels. 

  • Action Item #107 - Alan will send the solar panel document to the group.

Next Meeting

  • June 14-15 - Albany (Hotel Indigo)
  • October 18-19 - Albany (Hotel Indigo)

Updated: