Board of Assessment Review

Purpose: The BAR’s sole purpose is to guarantee taxpayer rights by hearing real property assessment complaints and arriving at fair and impartial determinations regarding those complaints. This work is conducted on the Town’s Grievance Day. The date for 2019 will be announced but it will be late May.

Mike Stertz (2018)
Craig Norton (2019)
Augie Sena (2020)
Howard Van Lenten (2021)
Bill Sullivan (2022)

Frequently asked questions about serving on the Board of Assessment Review:

Question: What is the purpose of the Board of Assessment Review?

Answer: The BAR’s sole purpose is to guarantee taxpayer’s rights by hearing real property assessment complaints (grievances) and arriving at fair and impartial determinations regarding those complaints.

Question: Who must attend training?

Answer: Initial appointees and re-appointees to the BAR must attend a BAR training session in order to participate in the hearing and determinations of assessment complaints on grievance day.

Question: How are Board of Assessment Review Appointments determined?

Answer: Section 523 of the Real Property Tax Law prescribes BAR appointments. The Town Board or the City Council appoints Members for a five-year term of office. Terms of office must begin on October 1 and end on September 30, five years later. Terms should be staggered so that only one term expires each year. Persons appointed on a date other than October 1, to fill an unexpired term, serve until September 30 of the year that term ends. The BAR must consist of not less than three nor more than five members. Neither the assessor nor any of his or her staff may be appointed to the board. In addition, the majority of the board must consist of members who are not officers or employee

Question: What are the qualifications and oath of office requirements for BAR members?

Answer: The Real Property Tax Law requires that members of the BAR have knowledge of property values in the assessing unit. BAR members are local public officers, and therefore, are required to be at least 18 years old, citizens of the United States and residents of the municipality which the board serves (Public Officers Law, section 3). Members of the board are required to take and file an oath of office. Oaths of local public officers are filed with the clerk of the city or town in which the board serves. In counties having county assessment, oaths are filed with the county clerk.

Question: Are there different types of Board of Assessment Review memberships?

Answer: There are two types of members: the regular member, as noted in #4 above, and the temporary member. Temporary members are appointed to serve on administrative hearing panels. Up to two temporary members can be appointed for each regular member on the Board. Temporary members are appointed to one-year terms, are required to attend training every year and can only make recommendations regarding assessment determinations. Regular BAR members make all final determinations regarding assessments (Real Property Tax Law, section 523-a).

Question: Do Board of Assessment Review members receive certificates?

Answer: Yes. The County Director of Real Property Tax Services distributes “certificates of attendance” to each BAR member who attends the training course. A copy of the certificate is filed with the city or town clerk.

Question: What happens if, after exploring all alternatives with the county director, a BAR member does not attend the training course when required to do so?

Answer: The BAR member should explore all options with their county director and even the directors of neighboring counties to attend BAR training when they are required to attend. They should always seek alternate training dates or arrangements before using the last resort of applying for an extension. If a BAR member is unable to attend the courses offered as explained above, due to reasons (s)he cannot control, (s)he must submit a request in writing to Educational Services, at the address listed on the front of this memo. That extension request must be received at least ten working days prior to

Grievance Day and must include the specific reason for not attending the prescribed training. If an extension is granted, the BAR member will be notified as soon as possible prior to Grievance Day and will be allowed to participate as a Board of Assessment Review member with the understanding that (s)he must attend the next available training session. If an extension is denied, the BAR member cannot be counted in determining whether a quorum is present at a meeting of the Board of Assessment Review. Furthermore, such members may not participate in the hearing and determination of complaints.