City of Schenectady, NY
Schenectady County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the City of Schenectady 11-15-71 as L.L. No. 10-1971. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Special downtown assessment districts — See Ch. 9.
Taxation — See Ch. 234.

§ 10-1 Definitions; word usage.

A. 
As used in this local law the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ASSESSMENT ROLL
The assessment roll prepared by the Assessor, either before or subsequent to the correction thereof by the Board of Assessment Review, but prior to its delivery to the Director of Finance for the extension of taxes therein.
ASSESSOR
The City Assessor.
BOARD
The Board of Assessment Review.
DEPARTMENT
The Department of Assessment and Taxation.
DEPUTY
A Deputy City Assessor.
OFFICIAL NEWSPAPER
The newspaper or newspapers designated by the Council for the publication of official notices of the city or of any department or agency thereof.
PERSON
Includes an individual, partnership, association or corporation and the official of the city in whose name the city holds title to any real property which the city has acquired.
TAX ROLL
The assessment roll after it has been delivered to the Director of Finance for the extension of taxes therein.
B. 
Words of the masculine gender include the feminine and the neuter and may refer to a corporation or to a board or other body; and, when the sense so indicates, words of the neuter gender may refer to any gender.

§ 10-2 Taxable status of real property.

[Amended 9-9-1985 by L.L. No. 3-1985; 5-13-1991 by Ord. No. 91-27; 8-2-1993 by Ord. No. 93-33]
That taxable status of all real property subject to taxation in the City of Schenectady shall be fixed for the succeeding fiscal year on the first day of March in each year, and the valuation date used to determine the taxable status values shall be the prior January 1.

§ 10-3 Names of owners on assessment roll.

The Assessor shall make diligent effort to ascertain the name of the owner of each parcel of real property which is assessed and shall charge the land to such owner on the assessment roll. However, a tax shall not be invalid against the real property because of the omission of the name of the owner or error in the name of the owner on the assessment roll or tax roll.

§ 10-4 Assessment of exempt property.

[Amended 9-9-1985 by L.L. No. 3-1985]
All real property exempt from taxation shall be listed in the assessment roll and valued in the same manner as property subject to taxation. Applications requesting real property exemption, as provided by law, shall be submitted to the Assessor prior to the 20th of May of each year except an application for partial tax exemption for real property of aged persons, which must be filed on or before May 1 of each year at the offices of the City Assessor.

§ 10-5 Form of assessment roll.

A. 
In addition to the requirements of §§ 502 and 504 of the Real Property Tax Law in relation to the form of the assessment roll, the Assessor shall, in a separate column or otherwise on such roll, designate each parcel of real property title to which the city has obtained by foreclosing a tax lien thereon or accepting a deed in satisfaction of such lien and which parcel of real property is exempt from taxation pursuant to § 406 of the Real Property Tax Law.
B. 
The Assessor, by rules and regulations, may provide for the convenient grouping, assessing and taxation of lots or subdivided real property which are under the same ownership.

§ 10-6 Completion of tentative assessment roll.

[Amended 9-9-1985 by L.L. No. 3-1985]
The tentative assessment roll shall be completed on the first day of May of each year.

§ 10-7 Tentative assessment roll: public inspection.

[Amended 9-9-1985 by L.L. No. 3-1985]
A. 
Upon the completion of the tentative assessment roll, the Assessor shall publish a notice twice a week during the next two weeks in the official newspaper of the city, stating the following:
(1) 
The tentative assessment roll is completed and is open to inspection at the Assessor's office at City Hall during office hours and shall remain open to public inspection until the fourth Tuesday in May of each year.
[Amended 3-16-1992 by Ord. No. 92-07]
(2) 
The Board of Assessment Review shall meet to hear any person who claims he is aggrieved by the assessment of his real property.
B. 
Such notice shall also state that all complaints shall be submitted to the Clerk of the Board not later than the fourth Tuesday in May prior to the Board of Assessment Review hearing date which is identified in the Assessor's published notice. If said complaint is filed within three business days preceding the Board of Assessment Review hearing, the Board must grant an Assessor's request for an adjournment to permit the Assessor time to prepare a response to the complaint.
[Amended 3-16-1992 by Ord. No. 92-07]

§ 10-8 Assessment of omitted property.

[Amended 9-9-1985 by L.L. No. 3-1985]
On or before the 20th day of May of each year, the Assessor may enter in the assessment roll, for the ensuing fiscal year, the assessed valuation of any parcel of real property which did not appear in such roll or may increase the value of any parcel of real property therein. Immediately after making such entry, the Assessor shall notify the owner of record of such property by registered mail, and an affidavit of such mailing shall be filed in the office of the Department. Such owner shall be permitted to inspect the tentative assessment roll at the City Assessor's office during regular office hours. Such owner may apply to the Board of Assessment Review for a correction of such assessment within 15 days after the mailing of such notice with the same force and effect as if such application were made on or before the 20th day of May of such year.

§ 10-9 Board of Assessment Review.

A. 
There shall be created a Board of Assessment Review consisting of five members. The members shall be appointed by the City Council and shall have a knowledge of property values in the city. Each member of the Board shall be a resident of the City of Schenectady at the time of his appointment, and his office shall immediately become vacant when he ceases to be a resident of the City of Schenectady.
[Amended 9-17-1990 by Ord. No. 90-70]
B. 
The members of the Board shall all be appointed by the City Council for periods of five years; provided, however, that the initial term of the three original members shall be for staggered terms such that not more than one member's term expires in the same year, and subsequent members shall be appointed for terms of five years, as terms expire. The term of the two additional members of the Board shall commence October 1, 1990, and expire on September 30, 1993, unless extended by a further act of the City Council.
[Amended 9-17-1990 by Ord. No. 90-70]
C. 
The City Assessor, or any member of the staff, is ineligible to accept appointment as a member of the Board.
D. 
In the event of a vacancy occurring therein during the term of any member, the City Council shall appoint a successor for the period of the unexpired term.
E. 
The Mayor, upon recommendations of the Board, shall appoint a Clerk of the Board whose duties shall be to perform such clerical assistance as may be required by the Board.
[Amended 9-9-1985 by L.L. No. 3-1985]
F. 
The City Council shall appoint two temporary members to the Board of Assessment Review for a term to expire June 30 in the year of their appointment as is authorized pursuant to § 523-a of the Real Property Tax Law. Each new temporary member of the Board shall be a resident of the City of Schenectady at the time of his appointment, and his office shall immediately become vacant when he ceases to be a resident of the City of Schenectady. Said temporary members shall be familiar with real estate values in the City of Schenectady, and their compensation shall be $150.
[Added 5-26-1992 by Ord. No. 92-26]

§ 10-10 Board of Assessment Review: organization; compensation.

A. 
The City Council may provide that the members of the Board of Assessment Review and the Clerk of said Board shall be paid for their respective services for the meetings to hear complaints and for subsequent adjourned hearings.
[Amended 9-9-1985 by L.L. No. 3-1985]
B. 
The Board shall choose a Chairman from its membership.

§ 10-11 Board of Assessment Review: removal of members.

The City Council may remove any member of the Board of Assessment Review after giving such member a copy of the charges against him and an opportunity to be heard in his defense.

§ 10-12 Board of Assessment Review: powers; hearing of complaints.

A. 
At the time and place during the hours specified in the notice given pursuant to § 506 of the Real Property Tax Law, the Board of Assessment Review shall meet to hear complaints in relation to assessments brought before it. Complainants shall file with the Clerk of the Board not later than the fourth Tuesday in May prior to the Board of Assessment Review's hearing date, which is identified in the Assessor's published notice, a statement specifying the respect in which the assessment complained of is illegal, erroneous or unequal, which statement must be made by the person whose property is assessed or by some person authorized to make such statement who has knowledge of the facts stated therein. The Board of Assessment Review may adjourn from time to time for the purpose of hearing complaints and shall not have authority to accept a complaint on any adjourned day.
[Amended 9-9-1985 by L.L. No. 3-1985; 3-16-1992 by Ord. No. 92-07]
B. 
The Board of Assessment Review may administer oaths, take testimony and hear proofs in regard to any complaint and the assessment to which it relates. If not satisfied that such assessment is illegal, erroneous or unequal, it may require the person whose real property is assessed, or his agent or representative, or any other person, to appear before the Board and be examined concerning such complaint, and to produce any papers relating to such assessment. If the person whose real property is assessed, or his agent or representative, shall willfully neglect or refuse to attend and be so examined or to answer any material question put to him, such person shall not be entitled to any reduction of the assessment subject to the complaint.
C. 
The Board of Assessment Review shall thereafter determine the final assessment of the real property of each complainant, and the assessment roll shall then be corrected accordingly. Such assessment may be the same as or less than the original assessment or if determined to be illegal, the same shall be stricken from the roll.
[Amended 9-9-1985 by L.L. No. 3-1985]

§ 10-13 Hearings by Board of Assessment Review.

A. 
Complaints shall be in writing and shall be certified and affirmed by the complainant as true under the penalties of perjury. Complaints shall be submitted to the Clerk of the Board not later than the 20th day of May of each year. A complainant may indicate in his complaint whether he prefers to appear at an evening session of the Board, and, in such case, the Board shall endeavor to hear such complaint at an evening session.
[Amended 9-9-1985 by L.L. No. 3-1985]
B. 
The Board shall meet from time to time, when called by the Chairman, between May 2 and June 15 inclusive of each year. Hearings upon complaints shall be held in the order in which complaints are received so far as practicable, except that the Board may classify complaints; in which event, hearings on complaints within each class shall be held in the order in which such complaints are received.
[Amended 9-9-1985 by L.L. No. 3-1985]
C. 
The Clerk of the Board shall prepare a docket or dockets of the complaints setting forth the date, time and place at which the Board intends to hear each complaint. A copy of each such docket shall be made available to the public at the office of the Assessor.
D. 
Procedure before the Board shall be as informal as practicable.
E. 
Two members of the Board shall constitute a quorum, and the consensus of at least two members shall be required for a determination by the Board. The determination of the Board shall be immediately certified to the Assessor by the Clerk of the Board.
F. 
The Clerk of the Board shall keep a record of its proceedings which shall be filed in the office of the Assessor.
G. 
The Board may request the presence at any of its hearings of any city officer or employee.
H. 
The Assessor, his deputy or a member of his staff designated by him shall attend all meetings of the Board. He or his representative shall have the right to be heard on any complaint, and upon his request, his views with respect to any complaint shall be recorded in the minutes of the Board.

§ 10-14 Final determination of Board.

[Amended 9-9-1985 by L.L. No. 3-1985]
The final determination of the Board of Assessment Review on any complaint shall be rendered not later than the 15th day of June of each year. If the Board shall fail to render a determination on any complaint, the action of the Assessor to which the complainant objected shall be deemed to be the final determination of the Board.

§ 10-15 Assessor to correct assessment roll.

Upon receiving any determination of the Board of Assessment Review from the Clerk thereof, the Assessor shall forthwith correct the assessment roll to conform to such determination.

§ 10-16 Proceeding to review tax assessment.

[Amended 9-9-1985 by L.L. No. 3-1985]
Any complainant who is dissatisfied with the determination of the Board of Assessment Review upon his application for revision of his real property assessment, for the ensuing year, may petition for a judicial review of the assessment as it appears in the verified and finally completed assessment roll, pursuant to Article 7 of the Real Property Tax Law, including the Small Claims Court procedures of Real Property Tax Law § 730.

§ 10-17 Final completion of assessment roll.

[Amended 9-9-1985 by L.L. No. 3-1985]
The assessment roll shall be completed and verified on or before the 31st day of June of each year.

§ 10-18 Verification of assessment roll.

When the assessment roll has been finally completed, the Assessor shall appear before an officer authorized to administer oaths. He shall swear to an oath in substantially the following form:
  I, the undersigned, depose and swear that I have set down in the foregoing assessment roll all of the real property situated in the City of Schenectady according to my best information and that, with the exception of those cases in which the value of said real estate has been changed by the Board of Assessment Review and with the exception of those cases in which the value of any special franchise has been fixed by the State Board of Equalization and Assessment, I have estimated the value of said real property at the sums which I, as Assessor of the City of Schenectady, have decided to be the full value thereof, according to my best judgment and belief.

§ 10-19 Filing assessment roll with Clerk of Board of Representatives.

[Amended 9-9-1985 by L.L. No. 3-1985]
On or before the first day of July of each year, the Assessor shall file, with the Clerk of the Board of Representatives, the assessment roll of the city for the ensuing fiscal year. Such assessment roll shall remain in his office for not more than 10 days, when it shall be returned to the office of the Director of Finance, where it shall remain open to public inspection for a period of 15 days.

§ 10-20 Public inspection of final assessment roll.

[Amended 8-30-1993 by Ord. No. 93-36]
Upon the return of the final assessment roll to the office of the Director of Finance, the Assessor shall publish a notice once in each official newspaper of the city stating the following: "The final assessment roll of the City of Schenectady has been completed and is now filed in the office of the Director of Finance, where it will be open for public inspection for a period of 15 days." The Assessor shall, upon completion of the final assessment roll, certify a copy to the City Clerk, which copy shall remain a public record for a minimum of 10 years from the date the final completion of the assessment roll was filed pursuant to § 10-19 of the Schenectady City Code. The final assessment roll certified to the City Clerk shall be retained by the office of the City Clerk, but for convenience purposes said roll will be physically found in the Assessor's office as a public record for a minimum of 10 years from the date the final assessment roll was filed pursuant to § 516-2 of the New York State Real Property Tax Law.

§ 10-21 Equalization apportionment of city's share of state and county taxes.

As provided by law, the Board of Representatives of the County of Schenectady shall use the assessment roll filed with them by the Assessor for the purpose of equalizing the valuation contained in said assessment roll with those of the several towns of the county, and for assessing, levying and directing the collection of the state and county taxes apportioned to the City of Schenectady. In equalizing the value of the real estate in the County of Schenectady, the Board of Representatives shall make no discrimination between the several wards of the City of Schenectady but shall consider the city as a town for the purpose of equalization.

§ 10-22 Apportionment of assessment and taxes.

A. 
Any person having a legal or equitable interest in any parcel of real property or a prospective mortgagee or a prospective purchaser of all or part of a parcel of real property may apply to the Assessor for:
(1) 
An apportionment of the real property and the assessed valuation of such parcel of real property on the assessment roll; or
(2) 
An apportionment of such parcel of real property and of a lien or liens of the city thereon on any tax roll or other records of the city in which such liens are set forth; or
(3) 
The relief set forth in Subsection A(1) and (2) of this section.
B. 
The application shall contain the following information:
(1) 
A statement of the interest of the applicant in such real property.
(2) 
The name, address, nature and degree of the interest of the owners, mortgagees or holders of tax liens on such real property or any other person having any other legal or equitable interest in such real property so far as the applicant can ascertain the same from the records of the Director of Finance.
(3) 
The relief sought by the applicant.
(4) 
Any other information which the Assessor may require by his rules and regulations.

§ 10-23 Action upon application for apportionment.

A. 
Upon receipt of the application, the Assessor shall notify, by mail, the persons mentioned in § 10-22B(2) of this chapter of the contents of the application and shall inform them that, within 10 days of the date of such notice, they may present a written objection to such apportionment or request that a hearing be held thereon. An affidavit of such mailing shall be filed in the office of the Department. If he deems it necessary. the Assessor may also request the applicant to publish a notice to that effect addressed to all the persons mentioned in § 10-22B(2) of this chapter. In such event, such notice shall be published once in the official newspaper, and an affidavit of such publication shall be filed with the Assessor.
B. 
The Assessor may, on his own initiative, decide to hold a hearing on such application and shall hold a hearing if requested to do so by any person pursuant to Subsection A of this section. The Assessor shall notify the applicant and the other parties mentioned in § 10-22B(2) of this chapter of the time and place of the meeting. However, the applicant, or any such party, may waive notice of such hearing by a written statement.
C. 
The Assessor may, in his discretion, make an apportionment only of the parcel of real property and the assessment thereof on the assessment roll, or he may also make an apportionment of the parcel of real property and the lien or liens thereon on the tax roll or rolls.
D. 
If the Assessor apportions the assessment, he shall cancel such assessment on the assessment roll and shall enter the new assessments therein which shall equal in the aggregate the cancelled assessment.
E. 
If the Assessor shall also apportion the lien or liens, then the aggregate of the new liens shall equal the old lien or liens. The Assessor shall notify the Director of Finance immediately after making such apportionment, and the Director of Finance shall cause the proper entries to be made on the tax roll or rolls and other records of his department to give effect to such apportionment.

§ 10-24 Correction of errors in assessment roll.

In addition to the power granted to the Council, pursuant to § 558 of the Real Property Tax Law to reassess property which has been erroneously or illegally assessed, the Assessor may present to the Council a petition for the correction of any of the following errors:
A. 
Any parcel of real property, subject to taxation, has, by mistake, been placed on the assessment roll for the ensuing fiscal year or for the current fiscal year at a value different from that which the Assessor intended for such property.
B. 
Any parcel of real property, subject to taxation, has been omitted from the assessment roll for the current fiscal year or for any of the three preceding fiscal years.

§ 10-25 Petition for increased valuation; notice to taxpayer; hearing.

A. 
The Council shall set a date for a hearing upon the receipt of any petition which, if granted, would increase the valuation of a parcel of real property on the assessment roll or would cause an omitted tax to be levied on such parcel of real property. The Assessor shall, within five days after presenting such petition to the Council, serve a copy of such petition on the owner of such real property, personally or by registered mail with a return receipt requested, and an affidavit of service shall be filed in the office of the Department. Such notice shall state when the hearing shall be held.
B. 
At such hearing, the Council shall have all the powers which the Board of Assessment Review possesses in reviewing and correcting an assessment roll. The property owner shall have the right to make an agreement in writing with the Assessor in relation to any petition, subject to the approval of the Council. However, if in such agreement the property owner consents to the additional valuation or the insertion of the omitted valuation which is sought in the petition, the Assessor shall notify the Council of such agreement, and the hearing shall not be held.

§ 10-26 Action by Council on petitions.

A. 
If any parcel of real property, subject to taxation, has been placed on the assessment roll for the ensuing or current fiscal year at a value different from that which the Assessor intended for such parcel of real property, the Council shall cause the same to be corrected. If any additional tax is due, the Council shall levy such additional tax, and if any refund is due to the taxpayer, the Council shall cause such refund to be paid from the appropriation in the budget for erroneous taxation and refunds.
B. 
If any parcel of real property has been omitted from the assessment roll for the current fiscal year, the Council shall cause such parcel of real property to be inserted in the assessment roll at a valuation to be fixed by the Assessor in his petition. The Council shall also levy a tax on such parcel of real property at the tax rate of the current year.
C. 
If any parcel of real property has been omitted from the assessment roll for any of the three previous years, the Council shall insert such property on the assessment roll for the current year at a valuation to be fixed by the Assessor in his petition. The valuation so inserted shall be the value for the year omitted. The Council shall also levy a tax on such real property at the tax rate of the omitted year.

§ 10-27 Corrections by Assessor and Director of Finance.

Upon receiving any determination of the Council on such a petition, the Assessor and Director of Finance shall forthwith correct the assessment roll, tax roll and any of the necessary records in their respective offices to conform to such determination. The Director of Finance shall make any refunds or collect any additional taxes which are required by any determination of the Council.