A SPECIAL MEETING OF THE VALUE ADJUSTMENT BOARD
OCTOBER 7, 2010
The Lake County Value Adjustment Board met in special session on Thursday, October 7, 2010, at 9:00 a.m., in Room 235 of the Lake County Administration Building, Tavares, Florida. The only Commissioner present was Jimmy Conner, Chairman. Commr. Stewart was unable to attend. Debbie Stivender was present from the Lake County School Board as an alternate for Larry Metz. Ralph Smith and Will Walker were present as citizen members. Others present were: Alison Yurko, Counsel for the Value Adjustment Board; Barbara Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; Kevin McDonald, Budget Officer, Clerk Finance, Frank Royce, Chief Deputy, Property Appraiser’s Office, and Ellie McDonald, Deputy Clerk.
call to order
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.
INTRODUCTION OF LEGAL COUNSEL
Commr. Conner welcomed Ms. Alison Yurko as legal counsel for the Value Adjustment Board (VAB). He stated that he met with Ms. Yurko and reviewed the agenda with her prior to this meeting. He asked Ms. Yurko to introduce herself and provide her background information to the Board.
Ms. Yurko stated that she has practiced law for a total of 23 years, six of which were as Assistant County Attorney in Orange County; four years in the law firm of GrayRobinson, P.A., and for the past twelve years has worked in the office of her husband, Thomas P. Callan, P.A.
approval of minutes
The Chairman asked for approval of the Minutes of the August 19, 2010, meeting.
On a motion by Ms. Stivender, seconded by Mr. Smith and carried unanimously by a 4-0 vote, the VAB approved the Minutes of the Regular Meeting held on August 19, 2010, as corrected.
update of special magistrate’s contracts
Ms. Barbara Lehman stated that the contracts of Special Magistrates Paul MacDermott, Kathryn Edmundson, and Denise Lyn had been extended from last year. She explained that these contracts were approved by the VAB at the August 19, 2010, meeting. She commented that all the contracts had been properly executed and no further action was needed.
GENERAL ROLE OF THE VAB MEMBERS, VAB CLERK AND PROPERTY APPRAISER’S OFFICE
Commr. Conner remarked that in view of the fact that all the VAB members had served on the Board for the past year he opined that everyone was aware of their responsibilities. He asked if anyone had any questions at this time. He commented that if there was a turnover on the Board perhaps they could address the rules and responsibilities at that time. He explained that the rules have not changed since the beginning of this term.
general update on number of petitions received to date
Ms. Lehman reported that in Tax Year 2009 there were 700 petitions submitted compared to 872 petitions in Tax Year 2010. She explained that the majority of the petitions were for valuations and were split as follows: 708 valuations; 88 exemptions, 23 classifications; and 45 tangible personal property petitions. She commented that of the valuation petitions, 5 were being held for completion; 34 were granted by the Property Appraiser’s Office (primarily exemptions); 66 were withdrawn by the petitioner; and a couple of late petitions were denied by Ms. Denise Lyn, the attorney responsible for evaluating late filings for reasonable cause.
Ms. Stivender requested an explanation of “portability.”
Mr. Frank Royce, Chief Deputy Property Appraiser’s Office asked if she knew what “Save our Homes” (SOH) was and stated it was the limitation of value which increases each year. He explained that portability was voted on two years ago and allows one to move from county-to- county, house-to-house and homestead-to-homestead and take some of that SOH to the new home. He commented that Lake County suffers due to the fact that people move from other counties into Lake County bringing more Save our Homes with them and taking more off the tax roll.
Commr. Conner asked what the scenario would be since approximately ninety (90%) percent of the County’s property was reduced in value or stayed the same. He also questioned what the scenario would be for one of the lucky ten (10%) percent whose value increased.
Mr. Royce stated that it was true that ninety (90%) percent of the County’s property either stayed the same or was reduced in value. He explained that through the boom years SOH kept the taxable value down; thus savings built up which acted as another exemption that the people were not being taxed on. He stated that because of the manner in which SOH was written, when the values go down it is called recapturing some of that value and comes out of SOH before it comes out of the market value of one’s home. He mentioned that SOH has a maximum of three (3%) percent increase each year, noting that this year it was two and seven-tenths (2.7%) percent. He remarked therefore, if one has SOH value, the property went up two and seven-tenths (2.7%) percent plus any increase in the millage rate according to the city in which one resides.
initial certification of the vab pursuant to florida statutes
Ms. Yurko stated that the Initial Certification was a new form that the Department of Revenue (DOR) has created. She remarked that there was some confusion about how to use the form as well as some misinformation from the DOR. She mentioned that she spent several days discussing the matter with the Clerk, County Attorney, and Mr. Royce in order to sort it out. She explained that it was determined that the meeting today was necessary to authorize Certification of the Initial Role under 197.323 F.S. in advance of the completion of the VAB hearings. She recommended that the VAB authorize the Chairman to execute the form.
On a motion by Mr. Walker, seconded by Ms. Stivender and carried unanimously by a 4-0 vote, the VAB authorized the Chairman to execute the Certification of the Initial Role.
APPROVAL OF INVOICES
Ms. Lehman stated that one of the invoices in their packet from Ms. Leigh Tucker had not yet been paid. She explained that normally the invoices were reviewed and paid prior to submitting to the VAB. She noted that this was the final invoice from Ms. Tucker which amounted to approximately $4,000. She commented that it would be paid this week.
On a motion by Mr. Smith, seconded by Mr. Walker and carried unanimously by a 4-0 vote, the VAB approved the invoice of Ms. Tucker as presented.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the VAB, the meeting was adjourned at 9:15 a.m.
JIMMY CONNER, CHAIRMAn
NEIL KELLY, CLERK