Hart County Board of Commissioners

Peer Review Work Session

August 24th, 2004

5:30 p.m.



The Hart County Board of Commissioners met August 24th, 2004 in the Hart County Administrative Center at 5:30 p.m. in the Hart County Administrative & Emergency Services Center.


Chairman Daniel Reyen presided with Commissioners R C Oglesby, Randy Banister, Ricky Carter and Joey Dorsey in attendance.


Chairman Reyen called the meeting to order.


Chairman Reyen responded to the BOA proposal #1 explaining that the current budget has enough flexibility for the Board of Assessors to meet more than two times a month if necessary. He requested clarification on PRB recommendation #2 concerning taxation of docks.


Vice Chairman of the BOA, Kenny Carter, responded that docks are considered real property based on the opinion of the Department of Revenue. Commissioner Oglesby remarked that they could discuss docks later since BOA Chairman Combs was absent due to a family emergency.


Ben Fant remarked that the dock issue is not part of the Peer Review recommendations and requested that the BOC allow Kenny Carter to proceed with  PRB Recommendation #9.


Chairman Reyen asked if the BOA was doing everything in their power to correct PRB Recommendation #3. Kenny Carter responded that they are taking measures to correct the issue.


Chairman Reyen remarked that he talked with Jim Harmon of the DOR and the sales ratio in 2003 is 21.03 and should be less than 20 and had increased since 2002. Kenny Carter responded that the 2003 tax digest was approved by the DOR without any deficiencies.


Chief Appraiser Margaret Crossley remarked that consultant Bill Ferris has agreed to assist them with the 2005 re-evaluation of commercial/industrial properties. She explained that Mr. Ferris wrote the software program that the BOA is using and that he is also a fee appraiser. She also remarked that the DOR approved the digest without any deficiencies.


Pete Nagele reported that the county has been under contract with Mr. Ferris since 1996 and that he was involved with the 2002 re-evaluation. He encouraged the BOC look elsewhere for Consultation help with the 2005 re-evaluation.


Ben Fant remarked that it is not unusual to have 1400-1500 appeals during a re-evaluation.


Commissioner Oglesby entertained a motion to continue with PRB Recommendation #9. Commissioner Dorsey provided a second to the motion.


Kenny Carter continued with the Peer Review Board’s Recommendation #9 – problem in obtaining information from the Tax Assessors’ office. The Board of Tax Assessors’ proposal – possible change in policy on providing information to the public if they receive adequate funding, the office staff can receive more training.


Chairman Reyen asked Mr. Carter how many staff members have attended courses this year. Ms. Crossley responded that the education funds were cut in their 2004 budget. Chairman Reyen again asked how many staff members attended courses this year. Ms. Crossley responded that Joy and she attended training courses. She also reported that Mr. Brown and Mrs. Carter will be attending the Appraiser I class in November and Mr. Brown will continue with the Appraiser II class later in the upcoming year.


Ms. Crossley discussed closing the office on Wednesday afternoon and holding in-house training sessions.


Commissioner Carter asked why requests from the public for public information have to be in writing. Ms. Crossley responded that some requests are for a massive amount of information.


Bob Techo remarked that the computer in the BOA does not allow the public to be able to compare a group of properties and was told that information would require a report to be generated.  He had requested the assistance of the staff to generate the report and stated that he now has to submit a request for information to the Chief Appraiser to get these reports of public information.  He added that there should not be an excuse as to why the staff members can’t be trained to assist individuals in providing public information to the public so that the BOA public information is not so difficult to obtain.


John Nagele remarked that he has requested information on how his land is valued, the comparable properties used in that evaluation, and asked the Board for transparency in the system so that an individual can see how valuation of property is determined. He said that everything he has heard so far does not provide the information that the average property owner needs.


Tommy Warren remarked that he has questioned how lake access property is appraised and could not get an answer.


Ernest Rudeseal remarked that land values are important to determining value.  He stated that land assessments are not on the computer screen and the comparisons used are not in the hard files and that data is not current. Ms. Crossley responded that the data is the previous year's approved digest information.


Kenny Carter continued with PRB Recommendation #10 - Additional personnel - the BOA proposed upgrading the computer hardware and hiring an Appraisal III. In addition the BOA will establish a career ladder for the appraisal office staff. The BOA presented a detail of training expenses for the Chief Appraiser, (1) Appraiser III and (2) Appraiser II, (2) Clerk/Appraiser Assistants.


Commissioner Carter asked if any of the appraiser III applicants have been interviewed. Ms. Crossley responded that she hasn't had time to conduct interviews.  She said she had talked to two individuals over the telephone and explained the starting salary.  She said that they both indicating that the starting salary would be an issue.


County Administrator Jon Caime explained that he has spoken with the individuals also and that two of the individuals have a considerable amount of experience as fee appraisers.  He had explained to them that credit could be granted by the BOC for their experience which would increase the starting salary.


Commissioner Oglesby entertained a motion to adjourn the meeting and convene the meeting on August 31st, 2004 at 5:30 p.m. Commissioner Dorsey provided a second to the motion. The motion carried 5-0.




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Daniel W. Reyen, Chairman                              Lawana Kahn, County Clerk