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Volume 7 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 97

Opinions of Counsel index

Coterminous town-village (operation principally as a village) (avoidance of duplicative administrative functions) - Village Law, §§ 17-1703, 17-1722, 17-1729:

If the voters of a coterminous town-village have elected that the local government be operated principally as a village, the board of trustees may avoid duplication of assessment administration functions by electing, pursuant to the Village Law, to either (1) prepare one assessment roll for both the town and village, or (2) use town fiscal dates only.

We have received a question regarding assessment administration and the fiscal calendar(s) within a coterminous town-village. By a proposition submitted pursuant to section 17-1703-a(l) of the Village Law, the electors of this town-village have chosen to operate their local government principally as a village (see, Op.Atty.Gen. 81-14).

The decision to operate principally as a village does not mean, however, that the municipality ceases to act as a town. For example, the town assessment roll is to be used for the levy of school and special district charges (Village Law, § 17-1734). Therefore, both a town assessment roll and a village assessment roll must be prepared and maintained following their respective calendars regardless of the similarities of the assessments on the rolls.

However, there are alternatives which would eliminate the duplication of assessment administration functions. The first of these is set forth in section 17-1722(1) of the Village Law, which permits the use of one assessment roll to serve both the town and the village. To implement this section, the board of trustees of the town-village must determine by resolution that that board shall act as the board of assessors of the village and adopt the town assessment roll, completed on or before June 1 of each year, as the basis for the village assessment roll. After completing and filing this annual village assessment roll on or before June 15 (§ 17-1722(2)), the board of trustees would then levy the tax for the current fiscal year on or before June 25 (§ 17-1722(4)). This annual village tax would become a lien on real property from the first day of July of the fiscal year for which it is levied, until the tax is paid, satisfied or discharged. Under this alternative, there would be two rolls (one a town roll, the other a village roll), but they would be identical.

The second alternative is set forth in section 17-1729 and results in the use of town fiscal dates only. Section 17-1729 provides, in part, that a coterminous local government, that has voted to operate principally as a village, may, by resolution of the village board of trustees, adopt a fiscal year that commences on January 1 and ends on December 31 (which is the town fiscal year; see, Town Law, § 101). By adopting such a resolution, acts performed in relation to the preparation of the assessment roll, the budget, and the levy and collection of taxes and special assessments are changed to the dates of the town with which the village is coterminous.

The interim period that would exist between the expiration on May 31 of the prior village fiscal year and the commencement on January 1 of the new town (and, henceforth, village) fiscal year is automatically “tacked on” as an extension of the village fiscal year, unless the board of trustees elects to treat the interim period as a separate fiscal year. If the latter choice is made, then the village fiscal dates and times will continue to apply during the interim, although the amount raised by tax on real property in this period must be proportional to the number of months (seven) contained within the interim.

Either alternative can be effectuated only by resolution of the board of trustees of the village. Without such action, notwithstanding the coterminous status of the town-village, duplicative governmental functions as to the property tax will be required. More specifically, the taxable status date for village purposes will continue to be January 1, and the taxable status date for town purposes will continue to be May 1.

November 23, 1981