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Volume 7 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 70

Opinions of Counsel index

Special assessing units (assessment limitations) (villages and cities) - Real Property Tax Law, § 1805:

The assessment limitations of section 1805 do not apply to assessments by village and city assessors in Nassau County.

We have been asked whether the assessment limitation provisions of subdivision 1 of section 1805 of the Real Property Tax Law (as added by L.1981, c.1057) apply to assessments of properties in the cities and villages in Nassau County. That subdivision prohibits the “assessors of any special assessing unit” from increasing the assessment of any “class one” parcel in any one year by more than six percent and by more than 20 percent in any five-year period.

Subdivision 1 of section 1805 applies only to assessors of a special assessing unit. A “special assessing unit” is defined as an assessing unit with a population of one million or more (§ 1801(a)). At present, the only assessing units which qualify under this definition are Nassau County and New York City.

However, it should be noted that there are other assessing units within Nassau County, which assess real property for their own tax purposes, namely, the cities and villages therein. For example, the City of Long Beach, which assesses real property pursuant to section 103 of its Charter, is an independent assessing unit within Nassau County. However, as that City’s population is less than one million, it is not a “special assessing unit” as defined above. Accordingly, the assessment limitation provisions of subdivision 1 of section 1805 have no application to an assessment by the City Assessor of class one real property within the City of Long Beach. However, assessments of real property within the City, by the County of Nassau for County tax purposes would be subject to those limitations.

This conclusion (that § 1805(1) is inapplicable to assessments on the City assessment roll) would change if the City of Long Beach adopted a local law electing to be governed by the provisions of Article 18, in accordance with the provisions of subdivision 4 of section 1803 of the Real Property Tax Law. In effect, this would end the City’s role as a separate assessing unit, unless and until the City repealed that local law (pursuant to this same subdivision). By the adoption of such a local law, the City would be in much the same position as school districts whose taxes are levied on a roll provided by the County (see, Nassau County Administrative Code, § 86-18.0, 6-22.0). Those jurisdictions have no authority to review or vary the assessments upon the roll, are bound by the determinations the County makes in regard to assessed values and, thus, are subject to any laws limiting the County’s assessment function.

The conclusions herein apply also to assessments by the assessors of the City of Glen Cove and all villages within Nassau County.

February 8, 1982