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Educating the public

Below we provide assessors with an array of materials and suggestions to help their property owners understand:

  • the assessment function
  • reassessments, and 
  • the overall property tax system.

In addition, property owners may be interested in some of the materials below. As a property owner, if you have questions about local assessment practices, you should contact your assessor. You can find contact information for assessors in Municipal Profiles.

Note: During a public education campaign, we encourage assessors to work closely with their ORPTS Customer Service Team.

Public education guidance for assessors 

A team of assessors, county directors, ORPTS staff, and a reassessment contractor developed the following publications to help assessors with various aspects of their public education efforts:

Public education handouts

We have an array of handouts on our website to assist assessors with public education campaigns. In addition to making the handouts available in your office, they can be used as:

  • enclosures in assessment notification mailings,
  • handouts at public education sessions and board meetings,
  • information for your town board, city council, and county committee.
Helpful handouts
Reassessments Assessments Exemptions
How estimates of market value are determined for residential properties The Job of the Assessor Senior citizens property tax exemptions
Reassessments: Questions and answers Certified County Directors of Real Property Tax Services Veterans Exemptions
Fair assessments: A guide for property owners How the property tax works  Exemptions for persons with disabilities and limited income
Assessments vs taxes: What's the difference? The real property tax cycle
Understanding the equalization rate: A guide for property owners

Your website can also link to the handouts of your choice. In addition, you may wish to link to Learn about assessments and property taxes. The associated webpages provide an overview of assessments, property taxes, assessment personnel, and property taxes.

Public education videos

The following videos are available on YouTube and can be used to educate taxpayers, as well as your fellow local officials. You can link to them from your website or present them during education sessions or board meetings.

PowerPoint presentations 

PowerPoint slide shows can be very helpful for explaining complex information to an audience. Charts, graphs and text can be displayed visually, which makes it easier for your audience to understand the concepts. If a laptop computer and a projector are not available, the presentation can be printed and distributed to the audience. 

Where to educate the public 

There are many opportunities to educate the public. The most direct chance you'll have to help someone understand assessments is when a taxpayer walks into your office. Other opportunities include the following:

  • public education sessions
  • meetings of benevolent organizations (Kiwanis, Rotary, Elks, etc.)
  • town board or city council meetings
  • municipal and county websites
  • municipal newsletters
  • cable public access stations
  • public broadcasting stations

Who can help?

When it comes to public education, you can draw on the expertise, experience, and stature of many colleagues. In addition to your ORPTS Customer Service Team, and other ORPTS staff, you should consider reaching out to the following for assistance:

  • fellow assessors,
  • county directors,
  • supportive town supervisors, and 
  • reassessment contractors.