VALUE ADJUSTMENT BOARD ORGANIZATIONAL MEETING
august 22, 2013
The Lake County Value Adjustment Board (VAB) met in regular session for its Organizational Meeting on Thursday, August 22, 2013, at 2:00 p.m. in the Board of County Commissioners’ Meeting Room, Lake County Administration Building, Tavares, Florida. Present at the meeting were: Commr. Jimmy Conner, Chairman; Commr. Sean Parks; Debbie Stivender representing the Lake County School Board; and Richard Riker and Ralph Smith as Citizen Members. Others present were: Alison Yurko, Counsel for the Value Adjustment Board; Barbara Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; and Courtney Vincent, Deputy Clerk.
call to order
The Chairman called the meeting to order.
Appointment of chairman and vice-chairman
On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Ms. Stivender and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the VAB elected Commr. Conner as Chairman.
On a motion by Mr. Smith, seconded by Mr. Riker and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the VAB elected Commr. Parks as Vice-Chairman.
ratification of private board legal counsel
Ms. Barbara Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance, recapped that they had entered into the agreement in 2010 for Alison Yurko to be the attorney for the Value Adjustment Board and were allowed to extend that each year. She recommended extending that contract if that was the desire of the VAB.
On a motion by Ms. Stivender, seconded by Mr. Smith and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the VAB extended the contract of Ms. Alison Yurko to continue as attorney for the VAB.
ratification of special magistrates
Ms. Lehman explained that in prior years the VAB issued request for proposals for the attorney special magistrate to hear classifications and exemptions and two special magistrates who look at appraisals, who were currently Kathryn Edmundson and Paul MacDermott. She related that last year, which was the first year of the contract, two one-year extensions were contained in each of those contracts, and she recommended that the VAB extend that contract for the first-year extension for all three of the special magistrates.
On a motion by Ms. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the VAB approved the extension of the contracts for all three current special magistrates, Ms. Denise Lyn, Ms. Kathryn Edmundson and Mr. Paul MacDermott.
On a motion by Mr. Smith, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the VAB designated the special magistrates as the decider for the good-cause determination for late filings.
review of general information regarding property tax system
Ms. Yurko pointed out that the VAB members were supplied a booklet that was put together by the Clerk’s Office which addresses all of the required information and provides reference to the corresponding websites, and she noted that the Florida Administrative Code 12D-9 was the definitive source of all things relating to the VAB. She commented that the VAB members were the keepers of due process to make sure everything flows smoothly and everyone does their job, and the VAB review is somewhat limited to make sure there was not a glaring problem or defect, since special magistrate proceedings would be the primary means for hearing and weighing competent and substantial evidence and testimony.
Resolution regarding adoption of a filing fee
Ms. Lehman explained that Resolution 2013-1 was a resolution required by the Florida Administrative Code to establish a filing fee for the maximum amount which is allowed by Statutes of $15 for each petition and a $5 fee for each additional parcel filed for a joint petition. She commented that the funds generated from this fee would go back to the County to offset the costs of the special magistrates, and she added that part of that cost is borne by the School Board. She requested approval to continue to charge the $15 filing fee per petition.
On a motion by Ms. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the VAB approved VAB Resolution 2013-1 adopting a $15 filing fee for individual petitions and a $5 fee for each additional parcel filed for a joint petition.
Resolution to adopt local administrative procedures
Ms. Lehman explained that Resolution 2013-2 was to adopt local administrative procedures for areas that were not specified by Statute in order to identify how they would handle certain things such as electronic filing, incomplete petitions, attendance of petitioners, telephonic hearings, and handling of evidence. She mentioned that these procedures would be on their website, and she recommended that the VAB approve this resolution.
On a motion by Ms. Stivender, seconded by Mr. Riker and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the VAB approved VAB Resolution 2013-2 regarding local administrative procedures for the VAB.
Announcement of tentative 2013 VAB schedule
Ms. Lehman reviewed the tentative schedule for the 2012 VAB year. She noted that the TRIM Notices were mailed out on August 20, which started the period for filing petitions, and she clarified that this meant the filing deadline for petitions would now be Monday, September 16, 2013. She related that they have already started scheduling hearings for October and November before the special magistrate for the exemptions and classifications and would continue with that process, and they will try to wrap up the meetings of the VAB by December if possible, although the process frequently went into January.
On a motion by Mr. Smith, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the VAB approved the Minutes of the VAB Regular Meeting held February 8, 2013, as presented.
Special magistrate and legal counsel vendor invoices
Ms. Lehman related that her staff looks at the invoices they receive to make sure they are reasonable and that the rates are correct and then makes the payment to the vendors. She mentioned that there will probably be some invoices for the Board to look at and approve during each meeting after they had been paid, since the VAB meets infrequently during the year.
Commr. Parks opined that the rate charged is very fair and reasonable.
On a motion by Ms. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the VAB retroactively approved the payment of submitted special magistrate and legal counsel vendor invoices.
ADDENDUM–REQUEST GIVING CHAIRMAN AUTHORITY TO SIGN TAX ROLL
Ms. Yurko mentioned that there was an addendum to the agenda asking for approval to give the Chairman the authority to sign the initial certification form for the 2013 tax roll after the BCC has approved the extension of the 2013 tax roll.
On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Ms. Stivender and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the VAB members voted to add this to the agenda.
On a motion by Ms. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the VAB members approved the addendum giving the Chairman authority to sign the initial certification form for the 2013 tax roll.
discussion regarding chapter 12D-9.031 rules
Ms. Yurko recapped that there was a question raised at the end of the proceedings last year about the special magistrate, and she specified that under Rule 12D-9.031, there is the authority for the VAB to send back to the special magistrate a matter in order to produce a decision that complies with the statutory subsections. She related that the VAB had done that last year regarding the Weaver petition, and she reported that although the result was not changed, there was an error that was found that was corrected. She opined that in those types of cases, she believes that the better practice would be to have the same special magistrate look at those cases rather than a different one to give the special magistrate an opportunity to correct any error that could have been made. She pointed out that her opinion on this matter was contained in the packet that was distributed to the VAB members, and she also recommended sending the VAB attorney to that hearing to make sure that due process occurs.
Mr. Smith, who had originally brought this matter up at that time, stated that he was satisfied with that opinion, since it provides a check and balances by the attorney.
Ms. Yurko pointed out that there were some legislative changes in 2013 that she included in their packet, although she did not get into specifics about those. She commented that although there was a possibility that there could have been extensive changes, that did not happen.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the VAB, the meeting was adjourned at 2:18 p.m.
JIMMY CONNER, CHAIRMAN
NEIL KELLY, CLERK