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Volume 8 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 59

Opinions of Counsel index

Approved assessing units (certification requirements) (villages) - Real Property Tax Law, §§ 1574, 1901; 9 NYCRR Part 192:

To be certified as an approved assessing unit, a village must comply with the State Board’s rules promulgated pursuant to Article 15-B of the RPTL, notwithstanding the fact that villages are not entitled to State aid otherwise payable pursuant to that Article.

We have been asked whether a village is required to mail full disclosure notices (9 NYCRR 192-1.4) when it conducts a revaluation by adopting a town’s revaluation assessments, and whether a village must comply with all of Part 192 of the State Board’s rules if it is to be certified as an approved assessing unit.

An “approved assessing unit” is an assessing unit certified by the State Board as having completed a revaluation in conformance with the State Board’s rules (Real Property Tax Law, § 1901(d)). “Assessing unit” is defined in section 102(1) of the RPTL as including a village, and in combination with Article 19 it is clear that it was the Legislature’s intent to permit a village to be an approved assessing unit (see, e.g., RPTL, §§ 1903(1), 1803(4)). Likewise, we have expressed the opinion that Article 19 of the RPTL is applicable to all assessing units in the State except for New York City and Nassau County (7 Op.Counsel SBEA No. 77). Thus, a village is an “assessing unit” for purposes of section 1901(d).

Although section 1901(d) of the RPTL contains only a general reference to the State Board’s rules, section 1902(2) makes it clear that the reference is to the State Board’s rules adopted for the purpose of administering Article 15-B of the RPTL (i.e., 9 NYCRR Part 192). However, Article 15-B does not apply to villages (RPTL, § 1574), and, as such, Part 192 of the State Board’s rules does not generally refer to villages either (see, e.g., 9 NYCRR 192-1.4). Section 192-1.4(b) requires that full disclosure notices compare county, school, and city or town tax liabilities, but no mention is made of village tax liability. Thus, there is an apparent inconsistency between the inclusion of villages within the term “approved assessing unit” in Article 19 and their exclusion from the scope of Article 15-B.

Articles 15-B and 19 of the Real Property Tax Law, although enacted some four years apart, refer to the same subject matter (in legal parlance, they are in pari materia). As such, the two statutes are to be construed together as if forming part of the same statute (see, e.g., McKinney’s Statutes, § 221(b), at p. 376 et seq. (1971, West Publishing Co.)). Indeed, the reference in section 1902(2) to a revaluation program which “would be” eligible for assistance pursuant to Article 15-B lends support for the conclusion that a village must satisfy the criteria of Part 192 of the State Board’s rules if it is to receive approved assessing unit status. That is, a village “would be” eligible for State aid if Article 15-B were applicable to villages. Thus, it is our conclusion that under present law and rules, a village must satisfy Part 192 standards to receive approved assessing unit status.

Since, as noted above, Part 192 quite properly does not generally refer to villages, for purposes of determining whether a village “would” satisfy the criteria therein, a reasonable approach would be to substitute the word “village” for “town,” so far as practicable, whenever “town” appears in Part 192. For example, for purposes of full disclosure notices, section 192-1.4(b) should be read as requiring a comparison of village taxes.

September 21, 1982