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A Message from the President
Anne Sapienza, IAO
President, New York State Assessors' Association
1999 - 2000

The past two months have been a whirlwind of travel and learning for me which has helped to firm up my agenda for the remaining ten months. I came into the presidency with the mission of formulating long term goals for our association by gathering information, asking the full board to analyze this information and then create a plan to accomplish the wishes of our membership. To that end, there will be an informal survey mailed out shortly to our regular members asking some basic questions that have been discussed more than once around the board table, and soliciting comments from our members on critical issues for assessors across the state. I ask you to please take the time to thoughtfully fill out the survey and return it.

Two other items are of top priority, the annual reassessment program and education of our youth. To the first, the majority of members of the Alliance have adopted the IAAO Standards on Mass Appraisal. The NYSAA is in the process of reviewing the guideline and strategies to implement that standard. We desire a real property tax driven by equity and fairness to all tax payers, but one that is also achievable to all communities in New York State. The annual reassessment program is tied to the IAAO standard and we want to ensure that our local legislators understand their pivotal role in supporting the local assessor down the path to annual reassessment. Without the support of your County, Town, City or Village elected officials, no assessor can achieve a program of annual review. Fear of the unknown grips many local legislators, alleviating that fear will be a tough road, yet one that can be traveled if care is taken.

Education of our youth. With few exceptions, all of our graduating seniors must take at some point a class called, "Participation in Government (PIG)". Let's get into that classroom and introduce to our future taxpayers the basic concepts and methodology of the real property tax system in New York. First time home buyers usually go into the most massive debt of their lives, a mortgage, without truly understanding all of the pieces that make up home ownership. What

is an escrow account, how does the assessor come up with a value, what role does the tax levy play, what is a tax levy, all questions that assessors across the state could answer in a basic format, Taxpaying 101. I have asked our Technology and Public Relations committee chairs to work together to develop a database of assessors, staff and county directors willing to take the time each year and go into the high school classroom. Let's be productive!

In closing, I am honored and privileged to be your president going into the new millennium. You have an excellent executive board that is willing to work above and beyond the norm and one that wants to visit with you to listen and learn. Please invite your board member liaison to a county assessors meeting to share your thoughts and opinions. We can achieve so much by working together.