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Audit viewed as opportunity for change in Cayuga County

The state comptroller’s office released an audit report of real property tax exemptions granted in the Town of Moravia. The report reviewed 85 agricultural, nonprofit, senior citizen, veteran and other exemptions granted by the town assessor, which Moravia recently began contracting with Cayuga County to provide.

“Any organization that has participated in an audit knows it is a lengthy, even tedious process. However, when approached as an opportunity to improve and implement best practices, the results and feedback are invaluable,” said J. Justin Woods, County Administrator. “In my experience working with Comptroller DiNapoli’s staff, OSC has been supportive and informative. That was the case here.”

“The County and Town were fortunate that the Comptroller selected Moravia for the audit shortly after the County entered into a joint municipal agreement to provide contracted assessment services,” said Kelly Anderson, Cayuga County Real Property Director. “It was clear to our staff at the County that the condition of the records were a significant issue that needed to be addressed.”

“By having the state auditors come in when they did, our assessor was able to work with them to prioritize which areas to focus on first,” said Terence Baxter, Moravia Town Supervisor. “This was extremely helpful for me as a first term Town Supervisor.”

“A thorough and proper review of 1400 assessment records spanning over 30 years takes time. For a town like Moravia that has a large proportion of land being used for farm operations, Ag exemptions are going to have a significant impact on the assessment roll so ensuring they are properly granted and calculated is very important,” observed town assessor, Tammy Schramm who is employed by Cayuga County Real Property.

“The Town and County have developed a plan for addressing the concerns identified in the audit. The Town has agreed to fund, and we have agreed to dedicate additional staff hours outside of the original contract needed to implement corrective measures,” added Anderson.