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NYS Comptroller


Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Report Highlights

Town of North Salem - Agricultural Exemptions (2018M-194)

Released: April 12, 2019 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Audit Objective

Determine whether the Town Assessor (Assessor) is properly administering agricultural real property tax exemptions.

Key Findings

The Assessor:

  • Granted four woodland exemptions for rented agricultural parcels with $40,028 in assessed value that did not meet the woodland eligibility requirement.
  • Granted three agricultural exemptions with assessed values of $543,390. Two of these exemptions lacked proper documentation and the remaining one was granted even though the 10-year exemption term had expired in 2013.
  • Did not grant an exemption credit totaling $2,168 in assessed value on one property because the exemption amount was incorrectly calculated.

Key Recommendations

  • Ensure property owners submit an initial or renewal application, when required, with proper supporting documentation and meet eligibility requirements before granting exemptions.
  • Review all previously granted agricultural structures exemptions on an annual basis to verify that the 10-year exemption term has not expired.

Town officials agreed with our recommendations and have initiated or indicated they planned to initiate corrective action.


The Town of North Salem is located in Westchester County. The Town Board (Board) is the legislative body responsible for overseeing operations and is composed of four Board members and the Supervisor. The Board is responsible for the general management and control of financial affairs.

The Board appoints the Assessor who is responsible for granting and tracking real property tax exemptions within Town boundaries. The Assessor determines the assessed values of properties for the assessment roll, which is then used to create the tax bills for the following year’s tax rolls. The Assessor must retain documentation that properties are eligible for exemptions.

Quick Facts
Number of Agricultural Exemptions91
Agricultural Assessment Value$176.5 million
Agricultural Exemptions Assessment Value$84.6 million

Audit Period

January 1, 2017 - December 31, 2017

Local Government and School Accountability Contact Information:

Phone: (518) 474-4037; Email:
Address: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Local Government and School Accountability
110 State Street, 12th Floor; Albany, NY 12236