COVID-19 and the BAR

BOARD OF ASSESSMENT REVIEW
 COVID-19 PANDEMIC PROCEDURES FOR GRIEVANCE 2020

Due to the present COVID-19 pandemic and necessary, on-going social distancing requirements to protect the public and town staff, and because procedures must be committed to far enough in advance for proper notice and preparation, the 2020 Grievance hearings will be held via teleconference, from several locations. To ensure fairness to all applicants, and to accommodate the necessary safety precautions these temporary procedures will be in effect for the entire grievance “season” of 2020, even if the health restrictions are lifted during this process. There will be no in-person meetings of the Board of Assessment Review (BAR). The BAR, in conjunction with the Town Attorney and Assessment Office, believe that the following procedures meet the expectations of the legal process while adding the layer of health protection required at the time the decision was at hand. The creation of these procedures does not constitute a precedent for future years.

While the Town Hall is closed to the public, the Assessment Office will remain available by phone at: 872-7051, Monday – Friday 8:30 – 4:30 PM. Please review the remainder of this page and the Board of Assessment Review Instructions before phoning the office as staff is limited and the BAR has taken extra time this year to communicate what they believe is important.

The Tentative Assessment Roll will be posted on or before May 22 to the Town’s Website, on our Annual Assessment Cycle page.

The Assessor and the BAR are well aware of the issues surrounding COVID-19 and the economy. The 2020 Tentative Assessment Roll is based upon the market conditions as of July 1, 2019. If COVID-19 does affect the real estate market as of July 1, 2020 in a measurable way, it will be taken into consideration for the 2021 assessments. Legally, we cannot take this into consideration for the 2020 values.

SUBMITTING / FILING OF GRIEVANCE APPLICATIONS

Once the roll is posted, Grievance forms (RP-524) may be submitted to the Assessment Office, using the information found on the new roll to complete the form. Applications will be received May 22 through June 15 at 8:00 PM. To reduce the volume of “touch points,” electronic submission is preferred. No receipts will be issued. Below are the acceptable options for submitting forms. Forms must be RECEIVED (not postmarked) by June 15 at 8:00 PM. No exceptions.

  • RP-524 Forms and the supporting documentation should be provided in ONE submission.Each property requires a separate form.
  • For 2020 the BAR will accept electronic signatures.
  • Be certain your email and phone number are correct and legible.
  • Failure to file timely (for any reason) precludes participation in this process, and any appeals at higher levels. 
  • Incomplete applications may be dismissed by the BAR.  Be sure to answer all applicable questions.
  • Any forms submitted by a property owner, who is representing his/her own interest, will be reviewed by the Assessor’s office for possible settlement in advance of Grievance Day, especially those who file earlier.  Be sure the forms are completed thoroughly and the supporting

Filing Option 1- WE will make the copies the BAR will need to review your case remotely:

A.    Submit via email PDF format attachment to: AssessmentReview@ci.webster.ny.us  This is a temporary email account ONLY for receiving forms for 2020, not for general business questions. RP-524 Forms and the supporting documentation should be provided in ONE submission. One property submission per email please, unless common ownership.  Each property requires a separate form.  

B.    Submit via FAX: 585-872-4437 or 585-872-1352

Filing Option 2- YOU will make the copies the BAR will need to review your case remotely. All paper submissions should be on 8.5 x 11 paper. Submit the ORIGINAL plus 6 copies of all pages, including any supporting documentation (total of 7 packets), preferably in a single large envelope to keep your copies together.

A.    Submit via the Specialty mail drop box in the front vestibule of the Town Hall 1000 Ridge Rd. In this foyer, there are several ways to leave items for various departments. Be sure to insert it in the mailbox marked with the yellow sign: Assessment Review Submissions.

B.    Submit via US Mail, FedEx, UPS or similar delivery service to: Assessment Office, 1000 Ridge Rd, Webster NY 14580. Forms must be RECEIVED (not postmarked) by June 15 at 8:00 PM. No exceptions.

C.    If health restrictions are lifted prior to the submission deadline (June 15) and the Town Hall is opened to the public, paper submissions in person will be accepted by the Assessment Office.

HEARING OF ASSESSMENT COMPLAINTS

  • The BAR is scheduled to meet virtually, by phone appointment only, beginning Monday, June 15, 2020 from no later than 3:30 until 8:00 PM and any additional dates or times as may be necessary to hear all complaints that arrive timely.
  • Once a properly completed complaint form is received, the applicant will be contacted to schedule an appointment for their telephone conference hearing with the five-member BAR, the Attorney and the Assessor.
  • Applicants have the option to have the BAR review their complaint form without having a telephone conference, by waiving their right to “attend” when contacted to make the appointment. The form and its attached supporting documentation will speak for you.
  • The BAR will phone applicants to join their day in progress at their appointed time. Please note that, depending on the service the BAR may need to use that day, the caller ID may not be a local or New York State phone number. We do not have control over the designation of the phone number. Answer your phone near your appointed time with the BAR. You cannot call us back using the number on the caller ID on your phone.
  • Appointments for residential properties will last no more than 15 minutes. Non-residential appointments will last no more than 20 minutes. Equal opportunity will be given for the applicant to present his/her case, the BAR to ask questions and the Assessor to reply to the comments and questions. Please be organized and succinct. The BAR will make every effort to keep to its appointment schedule to honor all applicants’ time.
  • The BAR requests that applicants be available 15 minutes either side of their appointed time (that is, for a 45-minute window for residential properties). This anticipates that the schedule may run early, another applicant may be un-reachable, or the proceedings may be interrupted by technological difficulties or other unforeseen problems.
  • Appointments will only be re-scheduled in the event of a complete failure of our technology beyond our control. Patience and flexibility are appreciated.
  • Written BAR decisions will be sent to the property owner’s address on the RP-524 form (and to the representative, if any) no later July 24, 2020.

TELECONFERENCE ETIQUETTE

  • The Chairman will conduct and control the meeting. All comments are directed to the BAR.
  • Position yourself where background noise will be minimal or absent. Even a small amount of background sound becomes distracting when it is generated by everyone participating.
  • If you cannot be so-positioned, please mute your phone until it is time to offer your comment, and then go back to mute. This cuts down on the background noise and talking over each other. The Board Members will do the same.
  • Introduce yourself each time you take the floor to speak.
  • If using a cell phone, be sure you are in a location with a signal that is strong and clear, and that your battery is charged.

Thank you for your cooperation, participation and attention to these details.

Audio recording of these hearings will be made available for public inspection.

Although the purpose of these procedures is to provide stability, all rights are reserved to make changes as necessary. Please check back regularly.

Revision Dated: May 19, 2020