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Lysander considers joint assessor

The topic of consolidation is once again on the table.

With the resignation of Lysander Assessor Don Long, effective Aug. 30, the town of Lysander is considering participating in a Coordinated Assessment Program, which is an agreement between two municipalities to appoint the same assessor. Lysander has approached Van Buren about program, but no official action has been taken at this

point.

"Lysander has asked if Van Buren might be interested in a CAP," said Van Buren Supervisor Mary Crego. "We are waiting for a formal proposal."

Joe Moorman and Catherine Cullivan of the NYS Office of Real Property Services presented information on CAP at last Thursday's Lysander Town Board meeting.

Moorman said the CAP makes it easier for ORPS because there are less equalization rates to calculate, thereby making a more efficient system for all New Yorkers. To make the program more appealing to municipalities, the ORPS department offers consolidation incentive aid, a one-time payment of up to $7 per parcel, payable to each participating municipality. The program requires a 10-year commitment in order to receive the aid. However, each municipality will receive the one-time payment within the first year.

The presentation included specific requirements that need to be met in order for two or more municipalities to participate. These requirements include:

A separate assessment roll for each town;

Same percentage of value for assessments (Lysander and Van Buren both currently assess at 100 percent value);

Use of the same assessment calendar;

Separate assessment appeal proceedings;

Establishment of identical equalization rates;

Filing of separate equalization rate challenges;

Use of separate and different tax rates for each local government in a school district or within a county.

Moorman said the state does not handle any of the details of the agreement. In fact, the two (or more) participating municipalities hash out the details of their respecting CAP on their own to reach an agreement that best benefits their respective situations. If Lysander and Van Buren were to enter into a CAP, they each must have approved and signed an agreement by Jan. 15 in order for the program to take effect for the 2008 tax rolls.

More than 40 percent of municipalities in the state currently share an assessor. Of those, 164 municipalities participate in CAP. In Onondaga, Cayuga, Cortland and Madison counties, there are nine CAPs.

For more information, visit orps.state.ny.us.

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