The assessor is a local government official who estimates the value of real property within a city, town, or village's boundaries. This value is converted into an assessment, which is one component in the computation of real property tax bills.
The assessor is obligated by New York State law to maintain assessments at a uniform percentage of market value each year. The assessor signs an oath to this effect when certifying the tentative assessment roll -- the document containing each property assessment. The physical description (or inventory) and value estimate of every parcel is required to be kept current. In order to maintain a uniform roll, each year your assessor will need to analyze all of the properties in the municipality to determine which assessments need to be changed.
Where assessments need to be changed, in some cases, your assessor will be able to increase or decrease the assessments of a neighborhood or group of properties by applying real estate market trends to those properties. This is possible only when the assessments to be changed are at a uniform level other than the municipality's stated level of assessment. In other cases, the assessor will need to conduct physical reinspections for reappraisals of properties. Every assessing unit should be keeping all assessments at a fair and uniform level every year.
The assessment roll shows assessments and appropriate exemptions. Every year the roll, with preliminary or tentative assessments, is made available for public inspection. After the Board of Assessment Review (BAR) has acted on assessment complaints and ordered any changes, the tentative assessment roll is made final.
The assessor performs many other administrative functions, such as inspecting new construction and major improvements to existing structures. This ensures that the record of each property's physical inventory is current and that the appropriate improvements are assessed.
The assessor also approves and keeps track of property tax exemptions. Among the most common are the senior citizen, School Tax Relief (STAR), veterans, agricultural, and business exemptions.