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Equalization for coordinated assessment programs

Coordinated Assessment Programs

The Calculation of:State Equalization Rates
County Equalization Rates
Certified Factors for changes in Assessment Level

Section 579 of the Real Property Tax Law allows two or more cities or towns that are located in the same county or adjoining counties, have the same level of assessment, and have the same assessor, to enter into an agreement to become a "Coordinated Assessment Program", or CAP. Section 579 requires the State Board to establish identical equalization rates for all of the assessing units in the CAP. This document describes how these equalization rates are calculated. It also describes how certified change-in-level-of-assessment factors are calculated.

Special Equalization Rates in the First Year of the Program

In the first year, identical special equalization rates are established for each city or town participating in the CAP for school tax apportionment purposes and for other purposes, such as the calculation of exemptions and assessments.

The special equalization rates are calculated from existing data for the individual municipalities. This is done by summing the total assessed values and market values used to calculate final State equalization rates for the prior assessment rolls of the individual municipalities and dividing the assessed value sum by the market value sum. These assessed values and market values are the same as those shown at the bottom of Table 1 of the data reports showing the calculation of the final prior State equalization rate for each municipality in the CAP.

An additional step is required if there is a material change in level of assessment (an increase or decrease of 2 percent or more in the level of assessment) between the prior rolls and the current rolls for the assessing units in the CAP. If this occurs, the special equalization rate calculated as described above, which is at the prior roll level of assessment, is adjusted for the percentage increase or decrease in assessment level occurring on the first assessment rolls produced by the CAP. This determination is made for all the assessment rolls taken together.

Municipality Prior Roll
Assessed
Value
(A)
Prior Roll
Market Value
(B)
Special
Equalization
Rate
(C)
(A) / (B)
Aggregate
Change-in-
Level-of-
Assessment
Factor
(D)
Special
Equalization
Rate
(E)
(C) X (D)
  (Including ordinary, public utility,
taxable State owned land, special
franchise and ceiling railroad real
property)
(If there is not a
material change
in level of
assessment)
  (If there is a
material change
in level of
assessment)
Town A 11,233,000 11,100,000      
Town B 33,400,000 34,000,000      
Total 44,633,000 45,100,000 98.96 1.12 110.84

The table on this page illustrates these first year calculations.

Certified Change-in-Level-of-Assessment Factors in the First Year of the Program

Certified change-in-level-of-assessment factors are established for a variety of purposes, such as to adjust veteran's exemptions. Certified factors are established only if there is a material change in level of assessment (an increase or decrease of 2 percent or more in the level of assessment). For the first assessment rolls produced by a CAP, individual change-in-level factors are certified (if necessary) for each municipality. This is required because the prior year's individual assessment rolls may be at different levels of assessment.

County Equalization Rates in the First Year of the Program

If the county legislative body has adopted a resolution pursuant to Title 2 of Article 8 of the Real Property Tax Law, the State Board determines county equalization rates to be used to apportion the county tax levy. Section 579 provides that county equalization rates in the first year of the program be calculated in much the same way as special equalization rates, except that there is no requirement for a material change in level of assessment. Any change in level is used to adjust the rate calculated at the prior year's level of assessment. This is consistent with the procedure for calculating county equalization rates, which is described in Title 2.

Special Equalization Rates and Certified Change-in-Level-of-Assessment Factors in Subsequent Years

An identical State equalization rate will be established for the first assessment rolls completed by the CAP, as described in the following section, and for every subsequent roll. A common change-in-level-of-assessment factor will be calculated, based on the assessor's reports of all the municipalities, after the first year. This rate and factor will be used, after the first year of the program, to determine special equalization rates, county rates and certified change-in-leve-of-assessment factors.

There is only one exception. Section 458(5)(b), RPTL, requires the State Board to establish a cumulative change-in-level factor to be used to determine eligible fund veteran's exemptions. Since this factor would include data from assessment rolls prior to the formation of the CAP, the cumulative change in level factors may differ among the municipalities in the CAP.

State Equalization Rate Calculations in the First Year of the Program

State equalization rates for the first assessment rolls of the CAP will be established after the special rate has been established. The market value survey used for these State rates will have been conducted on the individual assessment rolls in the CAP because it was begun before the CAP came into existence. For this reason, municipal market value survey ratios are adjusted to the current roll using municipal change-in-level-of-assessment factors.

The sum of the total assessed values on the individual current rolls is divided by the sum of the estimated market values to calculate the State equalization rate for the CAP. This is basically the same procedure as is used for a special equalization rate in the first year, but the assessed values are at the current level of assessment, and the estimated market values may be from a subsequent market value survey.

State Equalization Rate Calculations in Subsequent Years

In subsequent years, until a common market value survey is completed for all the assessing units in the CAP combined, the same procedure as was used to calculate the first State equalization rate for the CAP will again be used to determine a ratio for the first-year roll. Adjustments from the first-year roll to the current-year roll will be done using a common, or aggregate, change-in-level-of-assessment factor.

After a common market value survey is available, aggregate data will be used from the beginning to the end of the calculation, just as if the entire CAP were an individual city or town.

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