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Department of Taxation and Finance

Minutes - Real Property Tax Administration Committee


Real Property Tax Administration Committee

Minutes: June 14-15, 2012

Location: Colonie (Albany County)

In Attendance


  • Cathy Conklin
  • Tom Frey
  • Sue Otis
  • Curt Schoeberl
  • Denise Trudell

County Directors

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


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

Facilitator - Alan Kresge

Day 1

Get Organized

Minutes of the previous meeting were approved. 

Action Item Review (see handout):

  • 104 - Regarding Form RP-5217, can the original be retained electronically instead of in paper format?

Agency Update

Susan Savage announced that Matthew Rand's appointment to the State Board has been confirmed by the Senate and that he has been appointed as Chairman of the Board.  

The assessors asked about ORPTS staffing.   Susan said there were no changes to report but the Division is continually working on staffing and other operational matters.  

Legislative Update

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

The assessors asked about the new provision to revoke STAR exemptions for taxpayers with significant state tax delinquencies.    Joe Gerberg explained that the provision would only apply to those with tax debts of $4,500 or greater.    The amount of the STAR benefit that the taxpayer would have received will be applied to the taxpayer's tax debt. 

Pilot Program - RP-5217-PDF - Bar-coded form

Colleen Benson updated the group on the pilot program.   She said that the five county pilots have been going well, with more than 60% of the forms coming in the new format.  

Susan Savage commended Colleen for her work on the project. 

Orange County reported that they are considering making the PDF form mandatory in January.  

 Fourteen additional counties are interested in using the form.  

Paul Warneck reported that Jefferson County, which has not yet begun the pilot program, already receives some of the PDF forms.   ORPTS confirmed that is a trend in counties near to the pilot counties.  

The assessors asked how feedback has been from the legal community.   ORPTS reported that the feedback has been good.  

RPS Version 5

The Assessors Association sent a letter to Commissioner Mattox, Susan Savage and the Tax Department CIO regarding concerns with a potential RPS Version 5.  

Sue Otis read the letter.    The letter supports a web-based Version 5 but states that the primary purpose of the application must be for assessing.   The assessors stressed that the data must be secure and confidential until such time that the data should be made public.   The letter asks for costs of a new application and the impact on localities.   The letter also expresses concern about the way in which assessment data might be shared with the public.

Susan Savage said that there is buy-in from Department leadership on a potential RPS V5.   She assured the group that, before the Department moves forward, there would be outreach to the local government community.   The goal is to develop a system that works for everyone. 

As of this time, there is no determined timeframe for the beginning or completion of a Version 5 project.  

Reassessment Aid Requirements

Denise Trudell raised concerns about confusion and inconsistencies in regard to what is being asked of assessing units that are in the Cyclical Reassessment Aid program - particularly in regard to requirements during years when aid would not be available.   Concerns were raised regarding the timing of the notification from ORPTS in some communities (around tentative roll date). 

Tim Maher explained that the information requested is not for State Aid purposes, but was for equalization rate-making purposes.  Each year, the agency needs to know whether assessing units are maintaining assessments at 100% or not, regardless of whether they are eligible for aid that year.  

Tim suggested that the Equalization Subcommittee review this issue so that communication can be more uniform next year.  

ORPTS Newsletter Reminder Regarding Accurate Inventory and Sales Data

(See handout.) The assessors asked if a similar notice went out every year.   ORPTS said it did. 

Excellence in Equity Awards

Denise asked about the changes in the award program this year.   She noted that the award wasn't signed by Susan Savage this year.   She was also under the assumption that the awards were only done in the Central Region this year.

Geoff Gloak explained that all the regions did the awards, but that they   were developed by the ORPTS Regions rather than in Albany.    ORPTS will take Denise's concerns into consideration for this year's award program .  

Training - Ethics Course

Cathy raised concerns about communication regarding credit for taking the Ethics Course earlier than one year prior to reappointment.   Cathy Conklin noted that she would have brought this issue to the Training Advisory Group, but it doesn't meet again until the fall.

Paul Szwedo explained that one individual received that information as an exception and that it had to do with the location and timing of the course.  

Cathy suggested that the Ethics Course should not be considered among the 12 continuing education credits assessors are required to take because Ethics is a "basic course required for re-certification."

  • Action Item - ORPTS will consider the suggestion that the ethics course credits not be included in the 12 CE credits eligible for reimbursement.


Day 2

Sub-Group Activity Updates

  • Valuation Issues Team - Tony Ilacqua reported out on the May team meeting. (see handout)
  • Property Class Code Team - Beth Cervenak reported on two new property classes and a new used-as code. (see handout)
  • Action item - Geoff will send out notice of the two new property class codes and will include an attachment of the page from the Assessors' Manual in a subsequent email - he'll include a recommendation that assessors check their rolls for these types of properties
  • Equalization Project Team - Pat Holland reported that the team met in March and is meeting again in July. The team will review the trending process for the determination of land trends and the definition of reassessments for equalization rate purposes. She reported that there has been one equalization rate complaint so far this year. The assessors asked if equalization rates are done the same way for each region. Pat said the same procedures are used statewide.
  • Sales Processing Team - The team meets on an as needed basis.

Property Tax Cap

Tim reported that the cap has been effective.   92% of school district levies were under the cap.   Of those, 99% of the budgets passed.

The Department will be making tax base growth factors for all taxing jurisdictions in June.  

Next Meeting

  • October 29-30 - Indigo Hotel, Albany
  • Topics
  • Assessors request updating of Reassessment RFP