State changes assessment program

New York State has done away with its Annual Reassessment Program (ARP), which required participating municipalities to keep assessment rolls at 100 percent and in return paid $5 per year per parcel. The program has been replaced with the Aid for Cyclical Reassessments (ACR) program, which pays $5 per parcel in appraisal years and $2 per parcel in non-appraisal years.

With just under 15,000 properties in the towns of Lysander and Van Buren, which entered the ARP in 1999 and 2000 (respectively), the change equates to an approximate $90,000 reduction in aid every four years.

Additionally, the two towns entered into a coordinated assessment program (CAP) in 2009 receiving $7 per parcel aid payment to keep all homes within the towns at full assessment. The CAP has to remain in place for 10 years (through 2018). If assessment values are not kept updated, the towns would have to repay a prorated amount of the aid.

"[The towns] will have to pay money back on top of getting less aid if they don't participate," said Theresa Golden, the assessor for both towns.

Besides the reduction in aid, the biggest difference between the ARP and ACR is the new program requires municipal assessors to devise a plan to keep assessments at market value in future years. Municipalities have to submit a four-year plan at the minimum with reappraisals conducted at least once every four years. Both Lysander and Van Buren properties were at 100 percent assessment in 2010, which will be considered the first year of the program should the towns decide to participate. Golden would have to reassess all properties in year five, or 2014.

While Golden said the change probably wouldn't have a huge impact on residents, she said the ACR would take a lot more planning.

"In year five, we may need additional assistance," she added.

If Van Buren and Lysander decide to participate in the program, Golden would have to submit a plan and aid application by Dec. 6 to get aid for 2010.

Golden said she thought both boards would decide to enter into the new program.

"My feeling is they will try a five-year plan starting in 2010 through 2014," she said.

Both towns have until the first week in December to decide.

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