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State approves merger of two agencies

Gov. David A. Paterson this week signed legislation to merge the state’s Office of Real Property Services with the Department of Taxation and Finance.

By consolidating the two, the state expects to realize more than $2 million in annual savings. The merger also is expected to create significant administrative and program efficiencies. ORPS will become a division of the Department of Taxation and Finance and move from downtown Albany to Tax Department buildings on the Harriman Campus.

The bill also creates an independent state Board of Real Property Tax Services, will be administered by Taxation and Finance. The new board will review complaints against equalization rates and special franchise values established by the Office of Real Property Tax Services, however.

“The merger is structured in such a way that the services that each agency has been providing will be continued, while further cost reductions can be achieved through administrative efficiencies,” said Department of Taxation and Finance Acting Commissioner Jamie Woodward.

Beginning Monday, the new Office of Real Property Tax Services will be located at WA Harriman State Campus, Albany, N.Y. 12227. For more information visit www.orps.state.ny.us or www.nystax.gov.