Tal Rappleyea

Municipal Law

About Tal Rappleyea

As a municipal lawyer, Tal Rappleyea gets asked this question all the time: What is a municipality?

A municipality is actually just a technical term for a county or city. Although municipalities are mainly responsible for creating their laws, they hire municipal lawyers that are responsible for enforcing those laws. Tal Rappleyea covers the following municipal law issues to reflect the needs of area residents:

  • Education policies, which governs the safety and standards of education in public schools, accommodating students with disabilities, and job security for teachers.
  • Property taxes, which outlines how taxed income from residents can be used to benefit the community.
  • Police power, which oversees how police officers monitor resident behavior.
  • Zoning, which determines how land in the municipality is used.

Some municipal lawyers work internally for one municipality, while others practice law individually for multiple municipalities. Tal practices law individually in his own private practice and serves several counties in the Albany metro area in New York state.

Tal Rappleyea was admitted to the New York State Bar Association in January 1989. This chapter of the bar association is actually the largest voluntary state bar organization in the nation with a membership of more than 74,000 lawyers. Tal is proud to be a member, considering former presidents Grover Cleveland and Chester A. Arthur were members of the New York State chapter as well.

With nearly three decades of experience and a Juris Doctorate from Hamline State University, Tal Rappleyea has explored municipal law in several roles as an attorney, ranging from positions as Attorney for the Town and Attorney for the Village of several municipalities. Currently, Tal is a solo practitioner in his own Law Offices of Tal G. Rappleyea in Valatie, New York and lists municipal law as one of his main concentrations.

Tal is a supporter the New York State Conference of Mayors and Municipal Officials (NYCOM), which is an organization that trains municipal officials and operates as a general support group for municipal officials in each state. He is also very active in his community, as he is a member of the Capital District Trial Lawyers Association and holds a position in the County Bar Association of New York State.

Although Tal Rappleyea maintains an active lifestyle by volunteering in his community and maintaining memberships in his field of practice, he still makes time for one of his pastimes, golf, by on the range.

  • “Deal of the Year” Award from the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY)
  • Named one of the three new inductees to the Ethics Committee of REBNY
  • Named to the Executive Board of New York Residential Specialists (NYRS).
How Municipal Law Can Affect Your Life

How Municipal Law Can Affect Your Life

Municipal law is the law regulated in a particular city or county, also known as a municipality. The area has a government body made within their municipality. This gives residents the opportunity to have control over the municipal law. There are many different situations and legal issues that can be brought to a municipal law attorney. It is wise to hire an attorney that is familiar with the laws specific to your area.

Land Use:

The governing body has the power to tell people the location and the type of house or business you will be granted. Zoning laws give the government the ability to set out a plan for development in the community. With some businesses, the government doesn’t have the authority to ban, but they can make it difficult to open one. It can set specific guidelines and zoning laws to prevent them from being built.


These local governments are compensated by the revenues from property taxes. Homeowners and businesses pay these taxes in the community. The property tax rates can be high, especially since the decline in the real estate market, creating a lack of cash flow since values declined. Many people appealed and sought out lower property tax payments.

Building Codes:

Building inspectors receive their revenue from the property taxes paid by the residents. They are meant to provide consumer safety and has the power to issue citations for any building codes that may be violated. They can even halt the work entirely if the company is violating a code. There are a large amount of regulations set on residential and commercial building. Attorneys are turned to, to navigate the building codes.

Sunshine Law:

With the government being made up of residents, there is a more transparent process. Residents can search through any documents from officials and speak during council meetings. The local government is subjected to the freedom of information act and open meetings acts. Since the government has this transparency, they are often called sunshine laws. As an attorney, this can be a great tool to utilize when retrieving documents from the local government before a litigation trial. This gives some of the power back into the hands of the citizens.