Volume 1 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 51
Village assessment rolls (preparation) - Real Property Tax Law, Article 14:
Village assessment rolls must be prepared in the same manner and form as required for the preparation of town assessment rolls. A village may authorize the use of the town or county assessment roll of the current year as the basis for the village assessment roll, may use the services of a private firm to prepare its roll mechanically, or may employ experts to appraise real property within its boundaries. However, the responsibility for the accuracy of the village assessment roll lies with the village assessor.
Article 14 of the Real Property Tax Law is the governing statute relating to the assessment, levy, collection and enforcement of collection of real property taxes in villages. Real Property Tax Law, sections 1400 through 1412 outline the procedure a village must follow in preparing an assessment roll. Section 1402 specifically provides that the village assessors are to prepare an assessment roll of the real property within the village in the same manner and form as is required by law for the preparation of town assessment rolls. Real Property Tax Law, sections 502 and 504 contain requirements for the preparation of town (and village) assessment rolls.
The law specifies the powers, duties and responsibilities with respect to assessment and taxation administration. The duties and powers for preparing an assessment roll are vested in local assessors. Generally, the duties and responsibilities cannot be delegated. However, in the present computerized environment some localities, in an endeavor to facilitate assessment and taxation administration either internally or through the services of an outside firm, arrange to have their assessment rolls prepared mechanically. Such rolls are prepared based upon information supplied by local assessors. It should be noted, however, that such procedure does not relieve the local assessors of the responsibility they are charged with by law, i.e., village assessors are required to verify the assessment roll under oath (Real Property Tax Law, section 1410).
Attention is called to the provisions contained in the Real Property Tax Law, section 1402, which provides that the village board of trustees may by resolution authorize the assessors to use the assessment roll of the county or town of the current year as the basis for the assessment so far as is practicable. However, the village assessors are required to make their independent determinations and adjustments to reflect the condition, ownership and taxable status within the village as of taxable status date for the village.
It should also be noted that pursuant to the Real Property Tax Law, section 572, the governing body of any county, city, town or village may employ experts to appraise the real property within their respective localities and to aid the assessors in the assessment of such property. When the governing body of a municipal corporation hires the services of an appraisal firm, the members of such firm usually work together with the assessors in appraising the real property. In preparing an assessment roll the assessors are not bound to accept the appraisal figures of the experts. However, the assessors usually adopt such figures as their own.
January 17, 1972