Volunteer: Town Board of Assessment Review

Term: Five years; additional terms at Village Board discretion.
Meeting Frequency: After “Grievance Day,” (third Tuesday in June), two per week, from end of June through end of August/early September
Approximate meeting length: Depends on workload, see narrative below.
Establishment and charge: New York State Real Property Tax Law, Article 5, Title 1-A

What does the Board of Assessment Review do?

The Town Board of Assessment Review is comprised of five members responsible for hearing owner claims of inequitable property tax assessments, weighing evidence in the context of applicable rules and procedures, and rendering final assessment determinations, subject only to review by a court of law. Members preside over Scarsdale’s “Grievance Day” public sessions, which follow June 1 issuance of the tentative assessment roll by the Scarsdale assessor, and are held on the third Tuesday in June.

What is expected of Board members?

All members must complete mandatory Westchester County training as a condition of appointment, which does not represent a significant time commitment.

The first annual board meeting takes place on Grievance Day, prior to the public sessions, during which a chairperson is selected. Then, the board moderates three, two-hour tax grievance sessions. The sessions may extend to another day, depending on the number of property owners who wish to be heard.

After Grievance Day, the BAR meets on weekday evenings for closed deliberations, starting either at the end of June or the beginning of July and running through the summer, ending in late August to early September. These meetings are typically two nights each week, although more may be scheduled for a high volume of grievances. At these closed sessions, members review each case and determine any property tax adjustments. Each session lasts about three hours. The Board must complete its work early enough in September to allow the assessor to prepare final issuances and present the final role by the statutory deadline, September 15.

Because a quorum is necessary for the Board to complete its important work, all members must exhibit regular attendance. Meeting needs vary with the volume of grievances.

What professional, volunteer, and/or personal experiences have been helpful to Board members?

According to NYS Real Property Tax Law, members "shall have a knowledge of property values in the local government or village." Professions where such knowledge may have been developed include a variety of industries, such as real estate, construction/development, banking, insurance, and legal.