A REGULAR MEETING OF THE VALUE ADJUSTMENT BOARD
AUGUST 19, 2010
The Lake County Value Adjustment Board met in regular session on Thursday, August 19, 2010, at 9:00 a.m., in the Board of County Commissioners’ Meeting Room, Lake County Administration Building, Tavares, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: Jimmy Conner, Chairman; and Linda Stewart. Larry Metz was present from the Lake County School Board and Ralph Smith and William Walker were present as citizen members. Others present were Leigh Tucker, VAB Counsel; Barbara Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; Kevin McDonald, Budget Officer, County Finance; Frank Royce, Chief Deputy, Property Appraiser’s Office; Peter Peebles, Senior Supervisor, Property Appraiser’s Office; Robbie Ross, Director of Tangible and Agricultural Properties, Property Appraiser’s Office; and Brenda Press, Deputy Clerk.
Commr. Conner called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m. and noted that the meeting had been legally advertised and a quorum was present.
approval of minutes
The Chairman asked for approval of the Minutes of the May 27, 2010, meeting.
Mr. Larry Metz stated that on page 5, line 36, the word “readdress” should be corrected to read “redress.”
On a motion by Commr. Stewart, seconded by Mr. Walker and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the VAB approved the Minutes of the Regular Meeting held on May 27, 2010, as corrected.
consideration for recommendations of 2009 valuation PETITIONS of Special MagistrateS PAUL MACDERMOTT AND KATHRYN EDMUNDSON
Ms. Leigh Tucker, Counsel for the Value Adjustment Board (VAB) stated that a Color-Coded Spreadsheet of the remaining petitions before the Board could be found under Agenda Item 2, Tab 2. She noted that these petitions have all been presented to the Special Magistrate, either Mr. MacDermott or Ms. Edmundson, who have submitted their recommendations to the Board. She stated that the recommendations were color-coded as Categories 1, 2, and 3 in order to obtain the Board’s final ruling on those recommendations. She explained that Category 1 – the blue tab referred to Petition No. 2009-633 V. She noted that the Petitioner was represented by Ms. Allison Strange, an attorney from South Lake County, who presented evidence to the Special Magistrate. She commented that it was the Special Magistrate’s recommendation that Petitioner’s request for relief be granted. She stated that she also recommended that the Board accept the recommendation of the Special Magistrate.
On a motion by Commr. Stewart, seconded by Mr. Smith and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved to uphold the recommendation of the Special Magistrate that Petitioner’s request for relief be granted for Petition No. 2009-633 under Category 1.
Ms. Tucker stated that Category 2 is the section where the VAB is considering recommendations to deny the Petitioners’ requested relief, noting that the Petitioners had not submitted any written response to the Special Magistrate’s recommendation of denial. She commented that the Property Appraiser’s Office also presented evidence to the Special Magistrate that the Petitioners’ request for relief should be denied. She commented that it was her recommendation to the VAB that they approve the Special Magistrate’s recommendations to deny these Petitioners’ requests for relief.
On a motion by Mr. Walker, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the VAB approved the Special Magistrate’s recommendation to deny Petitioners’ request for relief under Category 2.
Ms. Tucker stated that in Category 3 there were 48 petitions for separate parcels represented by one representative on behalf of Property Tax Professionals and it is the recommendation in this Category that the Petitioners’ request for relief be denied. She noted, however, in this Category that both the Petitioner of Petition No. 2009-379, Mr. Gregg Johnson, and/or Property Tax Professionals submitted written responses to the recommendation of the Special Magistrate. She explained that she had reviewed both cases noting that as a background for both, she and the Clerk’s Office worked with both Petitioners throughout the process. She stated it continues to be her recommendation that the Special Magistrate’s recommendation be approved by the Board.
Mr. Walker had a question regarding Colina Bay Investments, LLC, being Petition Nos. 2009-51-111 and asked if Mr. John P. McDonald’s letter was correct in stating that the Appraiser’s Office had lost the “Presumption of Correctness” by not presenting comparable sales in the appropriate time frame, noting that comparing tax years was not an accepted appraisal procedure to make value conclusions. He asked if the Property Appraiser’s Office had followed those accepted appraisal procedures and questioned whether or not Mr. Johnson was correct in making that statement.
Ms. Tucker responded by stating that when she reviewed Mr. McDonald’s letter she did not find any legal issues that needed to be explored further. She noted that as far as the evidence presented to the Special Magistrate, Mr. MacDermott’s recommendation did not stray from his parameters as a Special Magistrate as a property appraiser. She noted, however, that the main reason she believed that this Petition was here now rather than the first opportunity they had to place it on the docket, was that when Mr. MacDermott originally submitted his recommendation to the Board there was a typographical error which made it appear as if this was not his recommendation for this particular petitioner. She commented that Mr. MacDermott corrected the error and that they have reviewed this multiple times at several meetings and she remarked that she did not see any legal issue that should be raised in this venue. She stated that if Mr. McDonald has a legal issue he would like to address on appeal he still has a right to appeal at a later time.
Mr. Smith commented that the Special Magistrate states in his Conclusions of Law, that “Although somewhat relevant, the evidence submitted by the petitioner was not sufficient to warrant a change in the assessed values as indicated by the property appraiser.” He asked if it was relevant and what parts were and were not relevant.
Ms. Tucker stated that she did not know the interior workings of Mr. MacDermott’s recommendation in that regard. She commented that if he believed that a portion of the evidence was something that he would like to consider, it was her opinion that was a manifestation on paper of the fact that he gave greater weight to some of the evidence than others. In summation she stated that it continued to be her recommendation that both recommendations of the Special Magistrates be approved.
Mr. Walker commented that with regard to Petition No. 2009-379, Mr. Gregg Johnson, there was a very lengthy response from the Petitioner. He explained that after reading the response he would be inclined to side with the recommendation of the Special Magistrate with the understanding that the Petitioner has the right to appeal to the Circuit Court if he so chooses.
On a motion by Mr. Walker, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the recommendations of the Special Magistrate to deny Petitioners’ request for relief in Category 3.
On a motion by Mr. Metz, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board entered into the record the Color-Coded Spreadsheet presented by Ms. Tucker.
rEQUEST FOR PROPOSAL (Rfp) responses for special magistrates and vab attorney
Ms. Tucker stated that they had received responses for both Special Magistrate positions and the Attorney position to represent this Board. She mentioned that in the last meeting the Board decided that rather than renewing the Contracts of the two Special Magistrates, the Board would like to have an RFP published so that other applicants could be considered. She explained that after reviewing the responses, she recommended that the Board renew the Contracts of the present Special Magistrates so that they would not change in essence. She remarked that she saw nothing in the new responses that led her to believe that they would get a better deal.
Commr. Conner questioned whether the current Special Magistrates wish to be reappointed.
Ms. Tucker responded that they wished to be reappointed. She explained that there were no local applications for the Attorney position. She commented that Mr. Sandy Minkoff, Interim County Manager, contacted several local attorneys to inquire if anyone was interested in applying for that position. She stated that her recommendation for VAB Counsel was Ms. Alison Yurko whose name appears on the VAB Counsel list. She commented that Ms. Yurko has an extensive amount of experience, among which is with the Orange County Value Adjustment Board. She stated that she would like to draft into Ms. Yurko’s Contract that she not bill the VAB for travel time to and from her office to Tavares. She mentioned that Ms. Denise Lyn was the current Attorney Special Magistrate who determined whether or not late petitions had good cause to be heard and whether or not the exemptions should be granted. She stated that although Ms. Lyn expressed an interest in the position of VAB Counsel it was her recommendation that Ms. Lyn continue in the Attorney Special Magistrate position.
Commr. Conner asked if Ms. Lyn applied for the VAB Counsel position.
Ms. Tucker responded that she did not. She informed the Board that although Ms. Lyn had expressed an interest in the VAB Counsel position, she continues to recommend Ms. Yurko as Counsel and to retain the current Special Magistrates.
Commr. Conner questioned if the VAB had a formal application process and asked if Ms. Lyn applied within that process. He also asked if any Lake County attorneys had applied.
Ms. Tucker stated that Ms. Lyn did not apply for the VAB Counsel position, nor did any Lake County attorneys.
Commr. Conner asked if the position was noticed in such a manner to make Lake County attorneys aware of the position.
Ms. Tucker stated that she, herself, sent it out to a couple of attorneys she thought would be qualified and who had previous experience in Value Adjustment Boards. She explained that they did not apply for the position.
Commr. Conner asked if the Lake County Bar had a publication where the RFP could be placed.
Ms. Tucker stated that the RFP was placed with the Lake County Bar’s publication. She commented that as a member of the Lake County Bar she received an email regarding the open position.
On a motion by Mr. Walker, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board reappointed Mr. Paul W. MacDermott and Ms. Kathryn Edmundson as Appraiser Special Magistrates.
On a motion by Mr. Walker, seconded by Mr. Smith and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board reappointed Ms. Denise Lyn as the Attorney Special Magistrate.
On a motion by Mr. Walker, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board appointed Ms. Alison Yurko as VAB Counsel under the proviso that she would not bill the Board for travel time.
approval of special magistrate and attorney invoices
Ms. Tucker asked the Board to ratify that the payments of the invoices contained in Item 4 of the Agenda have been correctly made.
On a motion by Commr. Stewart, seconded by Mr. Walker and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board ratified that the payments of invoices in Item 4 had been correctly made.
CERTIFICATION of 2009 tax roll
Ms. Tucker stated that Mr. Frank Royce, Chief Deputy, Property Appraiser’s Office would present the 2009 Tax Roll. She noted that the Property Appraiser’s Office had prepared several variations of the Tax Roll depending on the outcome of the votes today. She commented that due to the fact that all the recommendations of the Special Magistrates were approved by the Board, the Property Appraiser’s Office prepared a Tax Roll to be presented to the Board for signature by the Chairman.
Mr. Royce addressed the members of the Board stating that there were two Certification forms which would require the signature of the Chairman, one for Valuation Changes to Real Property and one for Valuation Changes to Tangible Personal Property. He stated that due to the outcome of the Board’s actions at this meeting, refunds, or changes to the Tax Roll, resulted in a reduction of $16,978,857 in the Real Estate Tax Roll and a loss of $278,898 in the reduction to the Tangible Personal Property Tax Roll. He presented the two Certification forms to the Chairman for signature.
On a motion by Mr. Walker, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Tax Roll as presented and authorized the Chairman to sign said Certifications.
Ms. Tucker stated that the Clerk’s Office would be contacting the Board members to try to schedule the Organizational Meeting for the 2010 Tax Roll. She commented that she would like to have that meeting as soon as possible in order to present a schedule for Ms. Yurko for upcoming meetings. She asked that the members of the Board review their calendars for the next three weeks.
Commr. Conner suggested Ms. Tucker schedule the meeting at 9:00 a.m. three weeks from today.
Ms. Tucker stated that the Organizational Meeting to review the 2010 Tax Year and meet Ms. Yurko would be held approximately three weeks from today at 9:00 a.m. She remarked that each Board member should ask their respective boards who they would like to represent them on the VAB Board. She noted that they did not need to be reappointed by their boards prior to the Organizational Meeting and, therefore, were to attend the meeting.
Commr. Conner commended Ms. Tucker for the performance of her duties as Counsel for the Board. All members of the Board concurred.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the VAB, the meeting was adjourned at 9:20 a.m.
JIMMY CONNER, CHAIRMAn
NEIL KELLY, CLERK