THE LAKE COUNTY VALUE ADJUSTMENT BOARD
OCTOBER 3, 2002
The Lake County Value Adjustment Board met in regular session on Wednesday, October 3, 2002, at 9:00 a.m., in the Board of County Commissioner’s Meeting Room, Lake County Administration Building, Tavares, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: Debbie Stivender, serving in the capacity of Chairman; and Jennifer Hill. School Board members present at the meeting were: Scott Strong and Kyleen Fischer. Others present were: Sanford A. Minkoff, County Attorney; Ed Havill, Property Appraiser; Frank Royce, Chief Deputy, Property Appraiser’s Office; Robbie Ross, Tangible Personal Property and Agricultural Operations Director, Property Appraiser’s Office; and Toni M. Riggs, Deputy Clerk.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, stated that he would like to ask the VAB to set a meeting for next Tuesday morning, at 8:45 a.m., in order to certify the tax roll. At this time, it was noted that the appropriate ad would be placed in the newspaper for the public hearing.
PETITION 2002-151 - C. P. MANAGEMENT
Mr. Jim Macchi stated that he received the property in question from his father through an estate planning several years ago. The property has been in the family for about 30 years, and the last time it came back to the family through a Federal Bankruptcy Court in California. During the process, it lost its license, and its zoning. At the same time, the Comprehensive Plan changed for that area, and it was designated as Green Swamp. They had gone through a special masters where they limited the scope of its use, as shown in the backup material, and the building has been vacated since April. In July, 2002, he received a letter from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) stating that there was contamination on site and, because it was a half mile from a municipal well, they were going to be responsible to clean up the contamination. He referred to the letter from the Guardian Angels Child Care and Development who was leasing the property and stated that, since that time, they have hired a company to do a Limited Contamination Assessment report (LCAR) for a scope of work that will cost $100,000. Mr. Macchi stated that he is requesting that the property be reappraised and reduced in value, because the property cannot be sold and banks will not loan money on it, and there is no value to a buyer, because of numerous problems. He noted that the property across the street can be used because it is 80/20.
Mr. Havill stated that the last qualified sale on this property was in 1991 for $150,000; the current assessment is $231,730; last year it was assessed at $200,740. He noted that there were three sales subsequent to 1991, but all were unqualified. Mr. Havill stated that he would like some guidance from the VAB. The land is currently assessed at $136,054; the land in 1999 was assessed at $63,720. Mr. Havill stated that he would recommend that they leave the building at the current assessment of $80,268 and reduce the land possibly in half, or to the $63,000 figure in 1999, until the pollution problem is taken care of by the State.
On a motion by Ms. Fischer, seconded by Mr. Strong and carried unanimously by a 4-0 vote, the VAB upheld the recommendation of the property appraiser and approved the assessment in the amount of $158,412 for Petition 2002-151, C. P. Management, with this number being left on there, until such time the pollution problem is taken care of.
PETITION NO. 2002-86 - R. DEWEY BURNSED (LAKES & SPRINGS)
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, informed the VAB that he and the Clerk reconfigured the numbers for the lots in Lakes & Springs, as directed by the VAB yesterday, which resulted in about a $1 million reduction. He noted that they were not necessarily done exactly at 50% per lot but, with some assistance, the numbers were lowered, as directed, and they will be reflected on the order.
RECESS & REASSEMBLY
At 9:30 a.m., Commr. Stivender announced that the Board would recess until 10 a.m.
PETITION 2002-27 - GLENDA Q. MAHANEY
Mr. Frank Royce, Chief Deputy, Property Appraiser’s Office, stated that Ms. Mahaney is contesting the denial of her homestead exemption on property that is located on Old 441 in Tavares/Mount Dora.
Ms. Jordan Stuart, Attorney representing the Property Appraiser’s Office, stated that she has spoken to Ms. Mahaney on behalf of Mr. Havill and has corresponded with her, and the Property Appraiser’s Office has not been able to get any information on which structure she is living in and whether or not that structure is legal, and Ms. Mahaney has been unwilling to advise the property appraiser of such, as required by law. As to the permanent residence question, Ms. Stuart stated that the denial was based primarily on the fact that the property appraiser cannot get any information.
In response to the first question of Commr. Stivender, Ms. Glenda Q. Mahaney stated that she lives on the entire parcel, Oak Crest, Lots 40 through 45; the east 150 feet of Lot 21 in Conner Plat; and as a joint tenant with right of survivorship, on the west 105 feet of McNaught’s Subdivision. Ms. Mahaney stated that she has several structures on all of these properties, and she has explained the situation to Mr. Havill and, because they cannot resolve this issue, she has filed on all of them. She stated that she has not abandoned her original homestead, which was on Lots 40 through 45, but she applied to add these lots, so that all of her property is contiguous.
In response to Commr. Stivender’s second question, Ms. Mahaney testified that she is living in several different buildings, because none of them are suitable for all of her needs. She predominantly stays on the west 105 feet of McNaught’s Subdivision, in a mobile home that has been there since before the property was purchased. It is a legal mobile home, and she also has a mobile home on the east 150 feet of Conner Plat. Ms. Mahaney stated that she has a legal two minimum housing standard motor home located on Lots 40 through 45, and on none of these structures will Mr. Havill allow her to have a homestead. She further stated that Mr. Havill is saying that she cannot have it on her motor home, even though there has been numerous case law decisions, because it is not tied down; he is refusing to acknowledge that the other mobile home, on the east 150 feet of Conner Plat, even exists; and he is also refusing to acknowledge that she owns the west 105 feet of McNaught’s with right of survivorship as a joint tenant, as she explained. She stated that her stepfather lives in the house, and her things are predominantly in the mobile home on the same property, so she is entitled to a full exemption on her portion of that property, as well as her stepfather, who is currently homesteading his portion of that property.
In response to Commr. Stivender’s third question, Ms. Mahaney stated that she owns, as a joint tenant with right of survivorship, an undivided interest in the property on the west 105 feet of McNaught’s Subdivision.
Mr. Royce explained that the property appraiser has no problem recognizing Ms. Mahaney as part owner of all of the property she has noted. He stated that they need to know where she lives, which dwelling and on which piece of property, and if the mobile home or camper she lives in is legal, and if the title is in her name.
Ms. Mahaney explained that the Florida Statutes, and the Florida Constitution, say that she can homestead one half of the west 105 feet of McNaught’s Subdivision. Her stepfather can also apply his $25,000 homestead exemption to the house on this site and, if she lives in the mobile home on the same site, she is also allowed to homestead her unit.
After some discussion, Ms. Mahaney stated that temporarily and, for the purpose of this meeting, she will say that she lives in the mobile home on the west 105 feet of McNaught’s Subdivision but, if she chooses this particular site, the property appraiser is saying that she is not allowed her full homestead exemption.
Ms. Stuart explained that any given contiguous piece of property identified in the public records does not mean individual use of property, and one homestead exemption is available. If two people live there and have separate rights, the homestead exemption can be divided, but it cannot exceed the $25,000. If her stepfather already has the homestead and, if there is another residence there, that residence is going to have to be excluded and they are going to have to decide how to divide up the homestead. At this time, Ms. Stuart quoted the Florida Statute relating to permanent residence, and stated that, if Ms Mahaney has testified that she lives on three different properties, she questions whether she has a permanent residence.
Ms. Mahaney stated that Ms. Stuart is totally overlooking Florida Statute 196.031(1) and, in a normal circumstance, it could not exceed $25,000 but it says except for owners of estates held by the entireties or held jointly, and it is the same as a condominium owner, with each getting an exemption on their apartment. She stated that she would like to know if her mobile home on Conner Plat qualifies. She further stated that she had asked for public information out of the property appraiser’s files, and he refused to give them to her, and Ms. Stuart has not responded to her request and, therefore, they are violating Florida Statute 119.07 by withholding public information from her out of the records.
Mr. Royce addressed the mobile home on Conner Plat and stated that it does not have electricity.
Ms. Mahaney asked for the law that requires someone has to have electricity, because many homes are on gas. She stated that she called the county and asked if there was a law in this county requiring electricity and was told there was not and, if they are going to use that law against her, she would like to have it pointed out. She referred to her ongoing lawsuit with the county and stated that Mr. Minkoff, once again in a public meeting, has said that the reason that they are suing her instead of going before the Code Enforcement Board because her property is under homestead protection.
Mr. Minkoff addressed the issue brought forth by Ms. Mahaney stating that there are at least three different kinds of homestead in the Statutes and the Constitution. One has to do with for sale from creditors; one has to do with tax exemption; one has to do with inheritance. The issue staff dealt with in court had nothing to do with this tax issue, so it is a separate issue. In regard to the electricity issue, he believes that Ms. Mahaney is correct that there is probably not a code that requires electric but it would be evidence for the Board as to whether or not someone could make it their permanent residence, if there was no electric or water services, but those would be issues that they would consider as to whether or not it could be a residence. He explained that, if it was there before 1970, before the county had zoning, it is possible that it could be a legal dwelling without utilities.
Ms. Mahaney stated that this particular mobile home was on the property when her parents purchased the property sometime in 1970, and it was there well before then.
Ms. Stuart stated that, if Ms. Mahaney can show them that she has either an individual deed that encompasses the mobile home, or a stock certificate in cooperative, or a deed to a condominium estate on that property, then they would not have a problem with it assuming that it is legal. She further stated that this specifically applies to condominiums and mobile home cooperatives, as shown in Florida Statute 193.075, and Ms. Mahaney does not fall under these circumstances. As to the joint tenancy, when there are joint tenants, each one of them can get a homestead exemption, up to the amount of their ownership.
Ms. Mahaney explained that Mr. Havill cannot make any special laws of a local nature pertaining to homesteads and, if all of the other counties are following the law and allow exemptions for each owner, as long as the property is over the exemption amount, then each owner could homestead up to their $25,000 as long as they live in a separate unit. She explained that she and her stepfather get one tax bill, because they are joint tenants. Ms. Mahaney stated that she is a registered voter, and the address she has listed is her post office box number.
Mr. Royce explained that there is a mobile home on the west 105 feet of McNaught’s Subdivision, and it is being assessed to the property, but they do not know if there is a title.
Commr. Hill made a motion, which was seconded by Mr. Strong, to approve the homestead exemption on the west 105 feet of McNaught’s Subdivision, if the mobile home meets the legal requirements for permanent residence.
Under discussion, Ms. Mahaney stated that she wants to know if the property appraiser is only going to allow her half of her exemption and try to take away half of her stepfather’s exemption and, if that is the case, then she wants to use the other mobile has her residence.
Mr. Royce explained that Ms. Mahaney would get the value of the home, and the proportionate share of the land that the home sits on, up to $25,000.
Commr. Stivender called for a vote on the motion, which was carried unanimously by a 4-0 vote.
Ms. Mahaney stated that there was another item on her petition regarding Mr. Albert Kreibick d/b/a Al’s Auto Parts. She stated that he has twice as much land, and he is being billed half as much in taxes. After some discussion, Ms. Mahaney clarified that Mr. Havill is not reassessing some of the neighboring properties.
Mr. Minkoff explained that, if Ms. Mahaney’s complaint is that her property was assessed too much, the VAB would have jurisdiction to hear that today, but they do not have jurisdiction to hear the adjacent neighbor’s property issue.
PETITION 2002-99L - JOANNE HODGES
Mr. Frank Royce, Chief Deputy, Property Appraiser’s Office, stated that the petitioner filed the application for homestead on March 4, 2002. The deadline to file was March 1st. She also filed a petition late, on September 12, 2002, so the VAB needs to decide whether there were extenuating circumstances for both of these issues.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, stated that, when considering whether or not to hear the late homestead petition, or the late petition to the VAB, there has to be circumstances that exist, which could not have been cured by the petitioner, such as mental illness, or hospitalization, and it cannot be that someone did not know or forgot because those are not adequate grounds to justify late filing.
Ms. Joanne Hodges, petitioner, stated that there are two parts, from the explanation given by the County Attorney, and the first part falls in the category of no excuse. The second part involves the death of a good friend who had a military funeral in Arlington, on February 27, 2002. She wrote on her calendar that she had until March 7th to file and, when she arrived back in town, she realized that she was very late. Ms. Hodges stated that the notice was sent out for filing a petition before the VAB, by certified letter, and she did not pick it up because she thought it was something that she had already taken care of.
Mr. Royce stated that the certified letter was unclaimed and that the property appraiser sends certified letters when he denies homestead.
On a motion by Mr. Strong, seconded by Ms. Fischer and carried unanimously by a 4-0 vote, the VAB upheld the recommendation of the Property Appraiser and denied the homestead exemption for Petition 2002-99L, Joanne Hodges, based on the March 1st deadline, and the petitioner failing to demonstrate extenuating circumstances.
PETITION 2002-2 - HUMAN SERVICES ASSOCIATES, INC.
PETITION 2002-3 - HUMAN SERVICES ASSOCIATES, INC.
Mr. Ed Havill, Property Appraiser, explained that this case involves the old Boys Ranch that went into bankruptcy last year. The petitioners got the property at auction. The assessment date in Florida is January 1st, and the petitioner signed the paperwork in late December, 2001 but a judge did not give them title until January 4, 2002. Mr. Havill stated that he denied the exemption because, as of January 1st, it was not being used for any charitable purpose, and he advised them to come in and review the case with the VAB.
Mr. Frank Francisco stated that he is President of Human Services Associates, Inc., and they bought the Lake County Boys Ranch last year. Mr. Francisco stated that he did speak to his attorney who told him to come today and plead his case. He stated that they actually closed on January 4, 2002, however, they closed on that day because the court had not given approval of the final sale until December 28, 2001. He presented evidence to the VAB and referred to it through his discussion of events. The first item referenced was the Order Confirming Auction. Mr. Francisco explained that his company actually made an offer on this program many months before it went to auction, but they were forced to go to auction, and they purchased it on December 6, 2001. They are keeping it as a non-profit organization with similar activities. The judge heard the case on Friday, December 28, 2001 and, as shown on the Deed, the trustee, Mr. George E. Mills, Jr., signed it on that date. As shown in the Deed, it appears that everybody in good faith was trying to close this transaction.
Mr. Havill explained that the issue today is not ownership but, under Florida law, the property appraiser has to look at ownership and use as of January 1st and, as of January 1st, it was not used for any bonafide charitable purpose.
Mr. Francisco stated that Human Services Associates, Inc. is a company that has been around for ten years, and they very adept at putting in programs and doing work in the social service field. Part of their indirect service is to get licensed; to set up a program; and to get it operational. They had hoped to walk right into the facility and provide services the next day, but they found many problems, so they were delayed. They also have to get a license from the Department of Children and Families, which they are still working on getting today. He explained that he worked with all parties involved to get the records in the appropriate order, on December 28, 2001. They also kept a component of the program, which is the equestrian program, and continued to serve the Sheriff’s Department and Vision Quest.
Mr. Havill explained that, as far as this year, he cannot see a charitable use on January 1, 2002. They have not gotten the paperwork where this organization even qualifies for the exemption. As of January 1st, it was a bankrupt Boys Ranch.
Ms. Jordan Stuart, Attorney representing the Property Appraiser, stated that, as a matter of law, this agency was not permitted to use the property until after the first of the year, as Mr. Francisco has testified. Ms. Stuart stated that the issue is ownership and use but, as a matter of law and, as stated by a judge, they could not use it as an agency until after the first of the year.
Mr. Havill pointed out that the agency does not have a license today. He did not know if they had more information to present today, because they had called him yesterday to delay the meeting. He suggested that they come in and address the VAB today, and he has not heard anything this morning that changes the fact that they are not entitled to the exemption for this year.
Mr. Francisco felt that the order by the judge on December 28, 2001 and the same signing of a Trustee’s Deed to Human Services Associates basically gave them possession and right to be on the property. He explained that the equestrian program never stopped during that time.
After some discussion, it was noted that some individuals are paying for riding lessons while others, such as the Sheriff’s Department, are not being charged.
On a motion by Mr. Strong, seconded by Commr. Hill and carried unanimously by a 4-0 vote, the VAB upheld the recommendation of the property appraiser and denied the charitable exemption for Petition 2002-2 and Petition 2002-3, Human Services Associates, Inc., based on testimony and evidence presented.
PETITION 2002-15 - SPECIAL OLYMPICS FLORIDA, INC.
Mr. Ed Havill, Property Appraiser, explained that the petitioner filed for total exemption after the March 1st deadline, on March 28, 2002. Mr. Havill pointed out that the petition indicates that they filed late because they did not have a number to go on the tangible personal property return, and they were later informed that an incomplete DR-504 form could have been submitted with a note that the detailed property information would follow. He stated that the information continues saying that no forms were sent from the Lake County Property Appraiser’s Office, and no representative from the Property Appraiser’s visited the petitioner’s premises. Mr. Havill stated that they are not required to mail out forms for people to apply for exemption.
Mr. Carl Ferguson, petitioner, explained that they were moving into the facility on September 11, 2001. Mr. Ferguson explained that they are leasing the property from South Lake Hospital and, when they got all of the information, it was already late. He explained that there is still a misunderstanding and, if they look at the Certificate of Occupancy (CO), it shows the owner as South Lake Hospital, because they are constantly being confused with the training center. The hospital held onto the information, because they were trying to make a decision about the training center and whether or not they were going to actually pay property tax on the training center.
On a motion by Mr. Strong, seconded by Commr. Hill and carried unanimously by a 4-0 vote, the VAB approved to hear Petition 2002-15, Special Olympics Florida, Inc.
Mr. Havill explained that this is a tangible personal property case, and the petitioner leases the real estate.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, explained that the motion would be enough because all the VAB has to do is approve the late filing and, if the VAB approves that reason, they would be entitled to the exemption.
It was noted that the tangible personal property tax value is $1,674,471.
Mr. Minkoff explained that the only thing the VAB has to do is determine whether there were extenuating circumstances.
Mr. Strong made a motion to overturn the recommendation of the property appraiser and approve the exemption for Petition 2002-15, Special Olympics Florida, Inc.
Ms. Jordan Stuart, Attorney representing the Property Appraiser, stated that the Property Appraiser’s Office has no objection to the VAB granting the exemption.
Commr. Hill seconded Mr. Strong’s motion.
Commr. Stivender called for a vote on the motion, which was carried unanimously by a 4-0 vote.
RECESS & REASSEMBLY
At 10:50 a.m., Commr. Stivender announced that the VAB would recess for ten minutes.
PETITION 2002-11 - NORTHLAKE DETACHMENT MARINE
CORPS LEAGUE, INC.
Mr. Ed Havill, Property Appraiser, stated that the petitioner filed for the tax exemption last year about six months late. Mr. Havill stated that they filed this year, and he looked at their paperwork and, based on the information they provided to him, it indicates that about 81% of their money is used to pay for maintenance, lawn service, installation dinners, office supplies, postage, printing, copying, and bingo papers, and it appears to be mostly for the social organization. Mr. Havill presented the VAB with the picture that was provided of their clubhouse and stated that, after reviewing their finances, he did not feel that they qualified as a charitable organization, because they are basically a social club.
Ms. Jordan Stuart, Attorney representing the Property Appraiser, referred to 196.012(6) Florida Statutes and stated that, in order for them to qualify for a charitable exemption, they need to have the expenditure of funds, which can legally be replaced by public funds, as she explained. She stated that Toys for Tots gets the exemption, but many of the organizations that work with Toys for Tots do not get the exemption, such as a chamber of commerce, because they are not a 501C tax deductible organization but, even if they were, the fact that you are a condiment for donations does not get you an exemption. They have to be collecting and expending funds that the public would otherwise step in and perform.
Mr. Larry Metz, Judge Advocate for the Northlake Detachment Marine Corps League, Inc., stated that he is here with some of the members of the League who are prepared to testify. Mr. Metz stated that they object strenuously to the characterization of their organization as a social club, and they object further to the characterization of their building as a clubhouse, because it is a Marine Corps League Hall, which was dedicated in November, 2000. The issue before the VAB is whether they are entitled to a charitable exemption under Chapter 196, Florida Statutes. Mr. Metz stated that Mr. Havill is correct in saying that they were late filing last year, and they attempted to get before the VAB last year, but they were late in doing that, too, so they paid their taxes. They came back this year, and Mr. Havill was presented with their financial statement and has concluded, and he would say probably accurately, that 19% of the gross revenues reflected on that statement went to charitable purposes. Mr. Metz stated that he met with Mr. Havill to discuss the percentage guidelines he utilizes and tried to explain that they are a lot more than what their financial statement represents. He stated that they purchased the building in January, 2000, from the VFW, and they allow them free use of that building. There was a financial change in their organization, because the VFW was unable to continue the expenses on the building. Mr. Metz stated that they did not consider that, when they took it over, they needed to pay the taxes, because they had the charitable exemption. They believe that the VAB should consider the totality of their organization, which involves many charitable and benevolent activities. Mr. Metz reviewed the Statute that council cited, Chapter 196.012(7), Florida Statutes, which explains charitable purpose, and stated that the issue is whether they are going to look at form, or substance, because their form does not show their activities, which he explained in great detail at this time. They do sponsor bingo, which is their financial lifeline, as required by Florida Statutes, and they need to look at the net revenues available after they pay the cost of existence. Mr. Metz stated that the 19% of the gross revenues reflected on that statement are closer to 40% at that period of time, and he has testimony that can support that number. He stated that the Statute says function, or service, and he gave Mr. Havill information about their Toys for Tots program ending in the year 2000. At this time, Mr. Metz provided a brief summary including man hours involved with the collection and distribution of toys and the value of the toys, and noted that, after applying numbers to this information, the organization would be about 75% to 80% charitable on this issue alone. He would submit to the VAB that the law uniformly applied in this country is that you consider substance over form, which show that benevolent and charitable activities go far beyond the social club that they have been characterized as and, in closing, he would be happy to provide direct testimony from any one of the members present, and he is proffering what he has just said as the proof for the case.
Mr. Strong asked why they cannot take the charitable gifts into consideration when determining the income and expense ratio.
Ms. Stuart stated that the problem is the real estate, and the property itself. She stated that what they have is a piece of real property that must be owned by them, and it is used by them for specific charitable purposes. Even if they count the toys, the problem is that they have income and expenses and, when looking at the income and expenses, even excluding the cost of the mortgage that they are paying, most of the money they take in is for purposes which are not charitable. She reviewed a profit and loss statement as of April, 2001, which indicates rental donations and stated that, if they rent the property out at a cost that is lower than market to other charitable organizations, it may make them more eligible. In term of percentages, the only percentage that has to be met is the predominant use percentage, so more than 50% of the actual use of the property must be for a charitable purpose. At this time, Ms. Stuart reviewed some of the other listed expenses, and stated that, in looking at this information, it does not reach the 50% level.
Mr. Metz explained that they have four groups that meet at the building free of charge, as he noted, and stated that this organization has a regular business meeting once a month, and the only social event would be the Marine Birthday Ball once a year, but it is a recognition ceremony. They also have a staff meeting to talk about management, and the building is not in use unless one of the other organizations need it.
At this time, testimony was provided by others who were present, in terms of the use of the building.
Mr. Havill stated that the organization exemptions that were given years ago are on the books, and the thing that triggered them to look this organization was not that they filed late, but that they filed a new application, after they took title to the building.
Mr. Phil Welker testified that he takes care of the financial records, and the bingo does not cover all of the overhead.
After further discussion and questioning of those individuals providing testimony, Ms. Stuart stated that she feels that they would be allowed the exemption.
Mr. Havill recommended that the VAB overrule the property appraiser.
On a motion by Ms. Fischer, seconded by Commr. Hill and carried unanimously by a 4-0 vote, the VAB overturned the recommendation of the property appraiser for denial and approved the exemption for Petition 2002-11, Northlake Detachment Marine Corps League, Inc., based on testimony and evidence.
PETITION 2002-32 - RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS, INC. - JOHN A. KNUDSEN
Mr. Frank Royce, Chief Deputy, Property Appraiser’s Office, stated that the petitioner has two golf front lots at the Village of Black Bear, which are currently assessed at $53,200 each.
Mr. John Knudsen addressed the Board and stated that Retirement Accounts, Inc. is a corporation that handles individual retirement accounts. In May, 1995, he made a bad investment decision and lent $50,000 to the developer, Seminole Springs Ltd. Partnership, for four lots. It is now known as Black Bear. The developer had some trouble and he had to foreclose and take title to the four lots in July, 1997. In April, 1998, he sold two of the lots (Lot 9 and Lot 10), which are now Lot 22 and Lot 23, to the developer called Clermart Ltd. Partnership, for $20,500 each. At a later date, two houses were built on those two lots, which are the only two houses in the subdivision. Mr. Knudsen stated that it is basically a dead subdivision, with no development. There are only 32 lots recorded and platted, and there are only five owners of property. He noted that the Etters own six lots that they acquired through foreclosure. Mr. Knudsen stated that there is not market for the lots, and $53,000 it out of line. His lots are about one quarter of an acre located on the golf course.
Mr. Royce stated that there has been a number of owners, and a number of corporations, and there have been bulk sales. The first bulk sale was 62 lots averaging $43,500 each; Lot 16 sold for $100,000; Lot 27 sold for $145,000; Lot 71 sold for $71,900 in November, 2001. Mr. Royce stated that right now there are three different subdivisions in this location. What brought this to their attention is that, on April 29, 2002, Mr. Mark Carson of Rapid Retrieval has foreclosed on all of the lots that are not owned by Knudsen and Mr. Etter and couple of other folks that have purchased lots. Mr. Carson was supposed to be here yesterday, but he did not appear, because he thought he had a contractor for the property. Mr. Royce stated that the property appraiser is probably going to look at all of the lots next year, and they will probably all be reduced because it is under foreclosure, which puts a cloud on it, and next year will certainly be a different story for this subdivision. He stated that right now they follow the market, and it has created its own market.
Mr. Knudsen stated that there are three different subdivisions. His lots are the most eastern part of the three subdivisions, and they are not lakefront, and he does not feel that the comparisons are accurate because they are all different.
Mr. Royce stated that there was a sale in 2000, in the amount of $65,000 for a golf course front lot, and it is located in Ups and Downs, and it is the same land on the same golf course.
Ms. Jordan Stuart, Attorney representing the Property Appraiser, stated that they assess based on the value as they see it on January 1st. They are looking at sales and information from 2001. Mr. Royce already explained that a foreclosure occurred in April, 2002, which is something they are going to look at in 2003, and it is probably going to bring the value down.
Mr. Knudsen explained that the subdivision, where he has the two lots and the Etters have six lots, is a dead subdivision. There has only been two houses built and they were originally valued at $284,000. They now have a sale price of $243,000.
Mr. Royce explained that this information was not presented to him earlier, so he cannot talk about those sales and, in terms of waterfront, they are talking about water hazzards on a golf course and golf course lots.
Mr. Knudsen stated that the whole point is that he made a bad investment decision and, as an individual, he has no control over the price structure in the subdivision. He noted that right now he does not have the lots listed for sale.
On a motion by Commr. Hill, seconded by Ms. Fischer and carried unanimously by a 4-0 vote, the VAB upheld the assessment, in the amount of $53,200 for each lot, for Petition 2002-32, Retirement Accounts, Inc., John A. Knudsen, based on the taxpayer failing to furnish evidence required to derive at a reduction in just value.
PETITIONS 2002-166 THROUGH 2002-183 - AT&T WIRELESS
ERNST & YOUNG, LLP
Mr. Robbie Ross, Tangible Personal Property and Agricultural Operations Director, stated that, in speaking to the representative, AT&T Wireless would not be attending the hearing today. It was noted that the petition was appealing the tangible personal property.
Ms. Fischer stated that, as a matter of record, she would not be attending the meeting this afternoon.
RECESS & REASSEMBLY
At 11:48 a.m., Commr. Stivender announced that the VAB would recess until 1:30 p.m.
It was noted that the following members were present for the afternoon session: Commr. Stivender; Commr. Hill; and Mr. Strong.
PETITION 2002-58 - LAKE SQUARE MALL
DARRIN L. MITCHELL - FLORIDA PROPERTY TAX PROFESSIONALS
Mr. Frank Royce, Chief Deputy, Property Appraiser’s Office, stated that they received information that the petitioner would not be attending the meeting. They asked Mr. Royce to tell them that the current assessment of the Lake Square Mall of $25,904,000 ought to be $13,000,000.
On a motion by Mr. Strong, seconded by Commr. Hill and carried unanimously by a 3-0 vote, the VAB upheld the assessment of the property appraiser, in the amount of $25,904,000 for Petition 2002-58, Lake Square Mall, Darrin L. Mitchell, Florida Property Tax Professionals, based on no one being present to provide further evidence that the appraiser’s assessment was in excess of just value.
PETITION 2002-190 - LAKE ULMERTON CORPORATION
PETITION 2002-191 - LAKE ULMERTON CORPORATION
THE B’S RV RESORT CAMPGROUND
Mr. Robbie Ross, Tangible Personal Property and Agricultural Operations Director, stated that Lake Ulmerton Corporation is petitioning the assessed value on property known as B’s RV Resort located on Highway 27 north of Clermont. Mr. Ross noted that this is a rental park, and they feel that the property is over assessed. The assessed value is $1,163,093 for Petition 2002-190 and Petition 2002-191. They are also petitioning their assessed value on their tangible, which was reduced from $185,719 to $173,424. Mr. Ross stated that the property was taken back from a foreclosure in February, 2002.
Mr. Michael Crisanti stated that he is President of the Lake Ulmerton Corporation. Mr. Crisanti stated that they purchased the property out of foreclosure in February, 2002, and it was considerably less than the current assessment. He stated that there are some unique problems with this particular property. The previous owner sold almost half of the sites on 99 year leases, from 1989 to 1994, and they only produce a very small income on a monthly basis. Now having to honor those leases, they find themselves in a cash flow problem. One parcel is being assessed at $916,000 and they feel a more realistic value is $700,000. He stated that the property cannot be sold until those leases expire, and some of them are lifetime. The second parcel, not including the tangible, is being assessed at $211,000 and they feel the value is $100,000. He stated that they are at a disadvantage because of those 99 year leases. They tried to develop the property further but met opposition with the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD), and various other agencies, and it is his understanding that the park is as large as it can possibly be at this time. Mr. Crisanti stated that they are actually at about a $9,000 profit year to date. He stated that his parents assist in running the park and receive no compensation, and his brother-in-law and his wife also run the park and receive very little compensation. They are doing what they can from a family standpoint to elevate this park financially. When they took the property out of foreclosure, there was a non-disturbance clause with the bank and the courts and, in order to grant a fee simple title of ownership, he would have to get the bank’s approval but he did not feel the bank would agree to release those lots. Mr. Crisante stated that he did not bring any appraisals with him today.
Mr. Ross stated that, in regard to the fee simple ownership, the petitioner would have to set up some type of a coop, or condominium situation, as others have done in the last few years.
On a motion by Mr. Scott, seconded by Commr. Hill and carried unanimously by a 3-0 vote, the VAB upheld the recommendation of the property appraiser and approved the assessment in the amount of $1,163,093 for Petition 2002-190 and Petition 2002-191, Lake Ulmerton Corporation, The B;s RV Resort Campground, based on the petitioner failing to provide evidence to justify a reduction in value.
PETITION 2002-192 - LAKE ULMERTON CORPORATION
Mr. Michael Crisante stated that this petition pertains to the tangible, and he feels there is some confusion with what has been classified as tangible.
Mr. Robbie Ross, Tangible Personal Property and Agricultural Operations Director, explained that, in tangible, it is not only the equipment the business uses to operate, but they also have to assess the water and sewer system that is there, and this is what makes up the bulk of the $173,424 value. Of that amount, the waste water system makes up $115,440 for those lots. The inventory would actually be exempt from taxation. Mr. Ross stated that Lake Ulmerton Corporation cannot petition their tangible, because no tangible return was filed for 2002. The property appraiser looked at the 2001 filing and made a determination that a couple of items should be removed that were assessed under the water and wastewater system and/or on the real estate side, to make their reduction. Mr. Ross referenced Chapter 193.073(2), Florida Statutes and stated that, in fairness, since Lake Ulmerton was not the actual owner as of January 1st, the previous owner should have filed a tangible return.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, stated that the petitioner still could have petitioned against the estimate made by the Property Appraiser’s Office, but he would have had to submit information to them at least five days before the hearing, and the petitioner has not provided any evidence to substantiate lowering the value amount.
Mr. Crisante stated that there was an effort to try and get that information from their office, and two gentlemen went to the park and reassessed and reevaluated it, and they were confused as to why it was as high as it was and could not tell them whether there was a wastewater plant. He further stated that there was no line item assessment on the wastewater plant, or individual items they received.
On a motion by Mr. Scott, seconded Commr. Hill and carried unanimously by a 3-0 vote, the VAB upheld the assessment of the property appraiser in the amount of $173,424 for Petition 2002-192, based on the taxpayer failing to furnish evidence required to derive at a reduction in just value.
PETITION 2002-205 - LAKE SUMTER COMMUNITY COLLEGE AND
SIEMENS FINANCIAL SERVICES, INC.
Mr. Jimmy Crawford addressed the VAB and stated that he is here representing both Siemens Financial Services (Siemens), and Lake Sumter Community College (LSCC).
Ms. Jordan Stuart, Attorney representing the Property Appraiser, stated that there is a provision in the lease contract which provides that LSCC is responsible for the taxes, and that is why they are here today.
Mr. Crawford presented the VAB members with a copy of the contract and noted that they will be discussing such document at the appropriate time. He noted that the Lessee is LSCC and the Lessor is Siemens, and the contract states on Page 6, Paragraph 14 that the Lessee shall pay, when due, all Taxes (hereinafter defined).
Ms. Stuart stated that the property appraiser is very open minded about who pays the taxes and, when he is presented with a document that indicates someone other than the owner shall be responsible for the taxes, he does not mind assessing them to whoever wants to be assessed for them. There is no matter of law that says he has to assess them to the title holder.
Mr. Crawford explained that LSCC contracted with Siemens for a telephone system, which is the system that the college uses at all three campuses. It is valued somewhere around $300,000 by the property appraiser, and the value in the lease is very close to this amount.
Mr. Crawford stated that the first issue he is going to talk about is the bare assertion in the contract, where the title to the equipment passes to LSCC upon acceptance of the equipment. Mr. Crawford referred to a letter dated August 29, 2002, from the property appraiser to Siemens, and stated that they agree with the legal assertions in the letter. The letter read as follows:
Although it appears that bare legal title in the equipment is vested in the College, all incidents of ownership (i.e., security interest, rights to receive rent, right of Lessor to adjust rent if the property is not treated as leased for income taxation purposes, etc.) serve to reinforce title in the Lessor.
Therefore, even if legal title vests in the College, all equitable interest in the property, including all incidents of ownership are in Siemen’s until and unless the purchase option is exercised by the College.
Mr. Crawford presented the VAB with a copy of 698 So.2d 526 Leon County Educational Facilities Authority, et al. V. Bert Hartsfield, etc., No. 87769, the Supreme Court ruling that states it is equitable ownership that matters when taxing. He stated that the question in this case is whether equitable title passes to LSCC, or it remains with Siemens with the lease.
Mr. Crawford presented the VAB with a copy of 544 S.2d 249 Alton B. Parker v. The Hertz Corporation, No. 88-00861, and stated that this is one of the best cases to explain the indicia of ownership and who retains the equitable title and how you make that decision. He stated that this court uses about five clarifying concepts to decide who owns it, as follows: depreciation, insurance, maintenance, right to modify, and taxes. He will be using this case and comparing it to the contract LSCC has with Siemens. At this time, Mr. Crawford explained the Hertz case and stated that the State has looked at this lease, and they consider it a capital lease with title passed, and it is depreciated by LSCC under State guidelines. He referred to Page 6, Paragraph 12 of the agreement, which states that the Lessee (LSCC) will not make any alterations, additions or improvements without the Lessor’s (Siemens) prior written consent, unless they can be removed easily without damaging the equipment, and any alternations, additions or improvements shall become a part of the equipment; Paragraph 15, which states that the Lessee assumes all risk of loss or damage to the equipment from any cause; Paragraph16, which states that they have to maintain public liability and property damage insurance; Paragraph 11, which addresses maintenance; and Paragraph 12, which addresses taxes. Mr. Crawford stated that all of these terms are the same as the Hertz case, and the court goes on to say that the Ground Lease convinces them that Hertz possesses and exercises sufficient dominion over the improvements and that it is the owner who is subject to ad valorem taxation. He stated that, using the very same test that the court used, the equitable title would be with LSCC, because of depreciation, maintenance responsibility, alternation ability, taxes, insurance and risk of loss. He explained that the ruling on the Hertz case showed that Hertz owned the property and, therefore, Hertz was the private corporation, and there was taxation upon the property, and it is the mirror image of the case that the VAB is considering right now. Mr. Crawford stated that, if LSCC has equitable ownership, there are no taxes owed.
Mr. Crawford presented case law 636 So.2d 523 First Union National Bank of Florida v. Jim Ford, No. 92-2022 and stated that this case addresses taxation, and the court found that even a mortgagee who has the right to foreclose on a mortgage property has more rights than the bank, and the certificate holders in this case. He stated that he brings this forward to make a correlation between the right of mortgage or, to foreclose, and the right of a security interest holder to come back and take the property. In this case, the court found that this was not enough to pass title, and the property was exempt.
Mr. Crawford stated that, under the existing case law, he feels that the indicia of ownership lies in the college, based on what he has provided to the VAB. He noted that the lease agreement was signed on December 21, 1999.
Mr. Robbie Ross, Tangible Personal Property and Agricultural Operations Director, stated that Siemens received a tax bill for 2000 and, when Siemens received the bill this year, they forwarded it to LSCC.
Mr. Crawford explained that the lease says that title passes to the lessee (LSCC), with the signing of this lease.
Ms. Jordan Stuart, Attorney for the Property Appraiser’s Office, stated that there are things in the contract that make it very clear. The primary point is that the law favors taxation of property, except for the homestead exemption where they favor the taxpayer. The law says that, if it can be construed to be taxable, even if there is some equivocation, we ere in favor of taxing the property, in the interest of getting revenue monies for the taxing bodies. Ms. Stuart stated that the case that really says it is Hialeah Inc. v. Dade County, 490 So.2d 998, No. 85-1412. She pointed out that, pursuant to the lease agreement, Siemens can take the property back without any foreclosure action, or any legal activity. It also says that the title passes upon acceptance, but no one knows when the acceptance is because, in the same paragraph, it says that the lessor (Siemens) will have all legal and equitable rights and remedies to take possession of the equipment and, in other words, if they do not get their money, they get it back. They can contract away any behavior regarding the property except those instances of ownership, which cannot be contracted away. She explained that Siemens has already done that by entering into a contract to rent the property. She further explained that LSCC cannot do anything with the property but use it and pay for it, and LSCC has the right to legal title, if it pays the current rent payment and everything else that it due, otherwise, it is Siemens’ property, but the college (LSCC) is not bound to buy it at the end of the lease.
Mr. Crawford stated that he has a copy of the Hialeah Inc. v. Dade County case, which he submitted to the VAB, where Hialeah leased the property from the city, when the property appraiser came to tax it, they said the city owns it, and they went through the same test of indicia of ownership. The court said, in this case, that Hialeah owned the property and, in this case today, Siemens does not own the property.
Ms. Stuart referred to the following from the Hialeah Inc. v. Dade County case, 42 Florida Jurisprudence Second, and stated that, in this case, it is just what LSCC cannot do, because they are still under a lease:
The meaning of the term “owner” is varied and depends in a great measure on the manner of its use. In common speech, it is most often used to designate the person in whom the legal or equitable title of property rests, as distinguished from a mere occupant or tenant. Ownership of property implies the right of possession and control thereof, as well as the right to dispose of, alienate, or transfer the property rights freely and without interference or restraint.
Mr. Crawford stated that he agrees that the controlling case issue should be considered to decide what those indicia of ownership are and that is what he has done by going through the Hertz Corporation case. He referred to Service Metro Corporation v. Matt Langley Bell, as Tax Collector of Escambia County, 786 So.2d, and stated that he thought this case was going to be close on point, because the court said that they agree that Service Metro has sufficient rights and duties regarding the property to make it the equitable owner, and they cite three cases, but they do not give the facts, or the tests, they went through to determine ownership. He stated that the Parker v. Hertz Corporation is the only one that goes through that point by point, and it says that Hertz is empowered to depreciate fully the actual cost to it of the fixed improvements on a straight line basis without any allowance for salvage, and this is exactly what LSCC is required to do by the State.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, discussed school leases and certificates of participation (COPS), and questioned whether the property appraiser is assessing school buildings as being subject to tax. He stated that the COPS, which are being done throughout the State, would be essentially the same as the transaction here because, if the School Board stopped paying the lease payment on a school, it would essentially be the same transaction as this telephone system.
Mr. Crawford stated that the Leon County v. Hartsfield case is a COPS case, and the Supreme Court said it is not taxable.
Mr. Minkoff stated that Siemens has the ability to take the phone system back if LSCC does not pay it, and the same with the School Board, and he is questioning the difference between a county courthouse, a school, or a telephone system at a college.
Ms. Stuart stated that, in that particular case, as noted, all of the rights are vested in the county whereas, in this case, all of those rights are vested, and these are rights that cannot be contracted away without creating ownership.
Mr. Minkoff recalled other case law that said the lease runs from year to year, and it automatically expires on a specific date, and this is the date that the certificate holders will be paid and, in this case, if the county fails to pay appropriate funds, the bank has to sell the property or relet it and use the proceeds to pay the certificate holders and, if there is any excess, it goes to the county; the county has the option to prepay and, at that point, the bank would then convey title to the county. The lease provides that the property will be occupied by the county; the county has the obligation to maintain it, to provide insurance, and it is also liable for the taxes, if any are due on the property.
Ms. Stuart argued that the document before them does not convey one incident of ownership, it does not convey to the school board any right to act with respect to the property in terms of the bundle of rights.
Mr. Crawford stated that he respectfully disagrees and pointed out a case that goes down the test exactly where they passed all of the indicia of title that they used in this case. In the Parker case, there are no COPS; the Hertz case is a straight lease purchase case just like the one they are talking about here; and both COP cases held the same thing so he did not think that, under the case law, there was any difference.
Ms. Stuart explained that, where there is equivocation, the VAB is bound to uphold the property appraiser, and she stressed that, with immunity, you do not have to prove anything and you do not pay taxes.
Mr. Strong explained that this is the third year for taxes and, when this lease is completed, it is a mute point, and LSCC is going to take possession of the property with the last payment but, prior to this, taxes have been paid on it, and he questioned why Siemens did not make this argument from the beginning.
Mr. Crawford stated that there is a letter in the backup from, Mr. Howard Frey, Siemens, which gives a complete explanation and request that the property appraiser accept the attached information as proof that Siemens was not responsible to file and pay the taxes, and a request for a refund in the amount of $4,493.88. After that, they will be reporting the equipment as a deletion in 2002.
Mr. Ross explained that, in this case, the property should have been reported either by Siemens, or by LSCC, as required by Florida Statutes.
Ms. Stuart stated that you cannot be an immune entity that contracts with someone and puts a meaningless clause in the contract that says the immune entity owns the property and have every other incident of ownership appear on the part of the taxable entity and have that satisfy the requirement that the property is immune, because it is owned by an immune entity.
Mr. Crawford stated that they are in complete agreement on that point, and that is why they went down the test of equitable ownership that the courts use, and every indicia of ownership that they use vests in LSCC. He stated that this district and the Supreme Court say that the indicia of ownership lie within the college, and it should not be taxed.
Mr. Minkoff felt that a good argument can be made on either side, and he is having difficulty understanding the difference between the cases that have been provided. The repossession by Siemens, under this case, would be governed by Article 9 and, if it was sold for a profit, that profit would come back to LSCC, just as it would for any other Article 9 security lien. He explained that, once they repossess under Article 9, they are required to sell it under good faith practices and, if there is an excess, that would come back to LSCC. Mr. Minkoff stated that, unfortunately, the VAB as the expertise to make this decision by virtue of being appointed here and they have to make a decision. He feels that the case is close to those being discussed in that ownership lies with LSCC, which would make it immune from tax.
Ms. Stuart referred the VAB to the clear terms of the document in the Hialeah case, which indicate no ownership exists in the school.
Discussion occurred regarding the COPS case with Mr. Minkoff stating that he did not believe there is a COPS transaction in the state that has been paying ad valorem tax to any school district.
Mr. Ross pointed out the following language in the lease agreement:
Paragraph 8. “Lessor will have all legal and equitable rights and remedies to take possession of the Equipment.”
Paragraph 14. “Lessee shall pay, when due, all Taxes (hereinafter defined) which may now or hereafter be imposed upon the ownership, leasing, rental, sale, purchase, possession or use of the Equipment, the Lease, the Lease Payments, any other payments due under this Lease or the transaction contemplated hereby.”
Mr. Minkoff explained that leases can be done two ways, one, they can be done as a typical lease in which case taxes would be paid. At the end of the term, the lessor owns the property. If they want to buy it, they get to buy it at fair market value, whatever that might be. The other type of lease, a capital lease, is really financing. It is a way to avoid having to pledge your credit, and typically ownership does pass and all of the requirements of ownership are placed on the lessee in that case. He explained that there is something in the Internal Revenue Code that prohibits the obligation being in there, which is why you see the $1.00 a year, because the lessor is required to treat it as a sale and does not depreciate, so Siemens is not depreciating this equipment under this lease agreement. He stated that Siemens will treat it as a sale with payments coming in over time.
Ms. Stuart clarified that Siemens stated that this was leased property and, in the year 2000, they reported it to the property appraiser on a Declaration of Property Lease to Others, as shown.
Mr. Crawford stated that, as Siemens stated in their letter, they filed the Declaration in error.
Mr. Minkoff stated that capital leases are ownership transfers, and the County tries to avoid those, unless they are very large and they come to the Board specifically for approval. Then there are typical leases, and they are not financing transactions, and they are not sales.
Mr. Crawford stated that, as Mr. Minkoff has said, capital leases are title transactions, and that is his whole case. He clarified that right now the assessment notices are being sent to Siemens and, by contract, the college is obligated to pay them.
Ms. Stuart explained that a capital lease generally runs for a period of time, it identifies each payment as a payment towards the value of the property, it ends up with a dollar at the end, and it does not permit repossession.
Mr. Minkoff stated that this lease does all of that and, even though they did not see the schedule, in any month that the college wanted to pay it off, it could pay it off in full. In the lease agreement, it says there is a Schedule B attached and each month they can pay it off in full.
Commr. Hill stated that she seems to feel that Siemens owes the tax and, after it is paid off, the college will own the property. Then, if they want to tax them for that equipment, unless they file a tangible tax return discounting it, that is something that will have to be done after they own it.
Commr. Hill made a motion to uphold the recommendation of the property appraiser and approve the assessment, Petition 2002-205, Lake Sumter Community College and Siemens Financial Services Inc., where Siemens will pay the taxes, based on petitioner failing to show evidence to overturn the Property Appraiser’s presumption of correctness.
Mr. Strong seconded the motion for discussion and stated that he agrees that there is some validity to their argument, but he does not feel that he is qualified to overturn it, or render an opinion on this particular issue but, unfortunately, he feels that his lack of experience should not jeopardize and allow them to continue to carry out their functions under the preview where they are going to get the benefit of the consideration here. He felt it would have been a different case, if it had been brought forth the very first time and, if they had not made that mistake in the past, maybe the outcome would have been different.
Commr. Stivender called for a vote on the motion, which was carried unanimously by a 3-0 vote.
PETITION 2002-217 - ELIZABETH STUTZ
PETITION 229L - KAREN OBERKIRCH
Mr. Frank Royce, Chief Deputy, Property Appraiser’s Office, noted that the following cases were withdrawn today: Petition 2002-217 - Elizabeth Stutz and Petition 229L - Karen Oberkirch.
PETITION 2002-203 - JAYSON A. STRINGFELLOW
Mr. Frank Royce, Chief Deputy, Property Appraiser’s Office, stated that the current assessment is $376,847. It is a five unit apartment complex in Clermont, on Lake Avenue, which was built in 2000. The assessment is $75,369 per unit. There was a sale in 2000 of a duplex for $189,900 or $94,950 per unit. There was another duplex sold in 2000 for $180,000 or $90,000 per unit.
Mr. Jayson Stringfellow addressed the VAB and stated that one of the tax assessors had been working with him on trying to resolve his assessment before today, but he is no longer with the Property Appraiser’s Office. Mr. Stringfellow stated that he looked at the property from an investment standpoint and ran some scenarios on it. The first year, because it was a new building, he was too late in trying to adjust the value. So the second year, he knew he would have some more history, and he presented that information to the assessor. He calculated the complex at full occupancy for the rest of the year and did a scenario with a “perfect world” where he could even get an increase and 100% occupancy, which reflected about $300,000. The only way he could get it to the $376,000 to $378,000 was if he had perfect occupancy for the whole year, and he did it at an 8% cap rate. He explained that the County’s designation of the property, not the building, changed after purchase, from R-3 residential to commercial. He built the complex himself and paid $50,000 for the property. The construction costs were about $239,000 for 1,351 square feet per unit. Mr. Stringfellow explained that the units are built into the side of a hill, and the comparables presented were free standing duplexes.
Mr. Royce noted that he has not seen the income figures being presented to the VAB at this time, and there is nothing in his packet. He stated that the property value went from $57,000 to $79,000 when the improvement went on there, and some value is placed on an improved piece of property.
Mr. Stringfellow stated that he gets $750 per unit, and the comparables shown are getting $800 to $900. He has a lot of duplexes, which rent ten times faster than this five unit apartment complex.
Mr. Strong stated that Mr. Stringfellow’s worst argument is his own success, and he appreciates him using an 8% cap rate, when other apartment owners were using 12%, but $300,000 sounds a little too low.
Mr. Stringfellow stated that he was trying to work out the increase in the land, and part of the land was sold. The land is approximately 1 1/4 acre and is zoned R-3 in the City of Clermont. He noted that, after his purchase of the property, he sold 1/4 acre of land. He was basically arguing the $20,000 increase on the property value.
Mr. Royce stated that, in reviewing the figures presented and using a 10% vacancy and cap rate of 11%, it reflects a figure of $383,500.
On a motion by Mr. Strong, seconded by Commr. Hill and carried unanimously by a 3-0 vote, the Board upheld the recommendation of the property appraiser and approved the adjustment assessment of $350,000.
PETITION 2002-204 - JAYSON A. STRINGFELLOW
Mr. Jayson Stringfellow stated that this is his homestead. He bought it in October basically because of the location. He is slowly taking down the house as he is living there, and the assessor, who is no longer with the Property Appraiser’s Office, looked at the property, and they tried to adjust back what it was going to be worth for awhile as he is building it, and he will be assessed for the portion he is adding to it, and hopefully it will come back to the purchase price. A value was determined at $225,000 with it being adjusted depending on the amount of progress.
Mr. Frank Royce, Chief Deputy, Property Appraiser’s Office, stated that the current assessment is $259,000 and, due to the circumstances, the assessor no longer being with their office and the information not being shared, they will certainly take Mr. Stringfellow’s word that this amount was going to be offered to him, and they would be willing to honor that amount.
On a motion by Commr. Hill, seconded by Mr. Strong and carried unanimously by a 3-0 vote, the VAB upheld the recommendation of the property appraiser and approved the adjusted assessed value of $225,000.
PETITIONS - NO ONE PRESENT
On a motion by Commr. Hill, seconded by Mr. Strong and carried unanimously by a 3-0 vote, the VAB upheld the recommendation of the property appraiser on the following cases where no one was present:
2002-36 Joy Raye Gibney
2002-158 Sherry Morton, c/o Harding and Carbone, Inc.
2002-212 Mark Carson
2002-213 Mark Carson
2002-214 Mark Carson
2002-216 Mark Carson
2002-42 J. R. Etter
2002-43 J. R. Etter
2002-44 J. R. Etter
2002-45 J. R. Etter
2002-46 J. R. Etter
2002-47 J. R. Etter
2002-100 C. A. Deems, II
2002-101 C. A. Deems, II
2002-159 Jill Bauschlicher
2002-186 Burr Wolff, LP - K-Mart
2002-194 Rafiah R. Kashmiri - Garden City Resort HOA
2002-195 Rafiah R. Kashmiri
2002-196 Rafiah R. Kashmiri - Garden City Resort HOA
2002-197 Rafiah R. Kashmiri
2002-166 AT&T Wireless, c/o Ernst & Young, LLP
2002-167 AT&T Wireless, c/o Ernst & Young, LLP
2002-168 AT&T Wireless, c/o Ernst & Young, LLP
2002-169 AT&T Wireless, c/o Ernst & Young, LLP
2002-170 AT&T Wireless, c/o Ernst & Young, LLP
2002-171 AT&T Wireless, c/o Ernst & Young, LLP
2002-172 AT&T Wireless, c/o Ernst & Young, LLP
2002-173 AT&T Wireless, c/o Ernst & Young, LLP
2002-174 AT&T Wireless, c/o Ernst & Young, LLP
2002-175 AT&T Wireless, c/o Ernst & Young, LLP
2002-176 AT&T Wireless, c/o Ernst & Young, LLP
2002-177 AT&T Wireless, c/o Ernst & Young, LLP
2002-178 AT&T Wireless, c/o Ernst & Young, LLP
2002-179 AT&T Wireless, c/o Ernst & Young, LLP
2002-180 AT&T Wireless, c/o Ernst & Young, LLP
2002-181 AT&T Wireless, c/o Ernst & Young, LLP
2002-182 AT&T Wireless, c/o Ernst & Young, LLP
2002-183 AT&T Wireless, c/o Ernst & Young, LLP
2002-224L EPIK Leasing
2002-225L EPIK Leasing
2002-226L EPIK Leasing
2002-228L - Barbara Ann Weber
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the VAB, the meeting recessed at 3:05 p.m., with it being noted that the VAB would reconvene at 8:45 a.m., October 8, 2002.
WELTON G. CADWELL, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK