HB 909

A bill to be entitled
2An act relating to value adjustment boards; amending s.
3194.011, F.S.; requiring the Department of Revenue to
4develop a uniform policies and procedures manual for use
5in proceedings before value adjustment boards; specifying
6availability requirements for the manual; amending s.
7194.015, F.S.; deleting provisions relating to county
8attorneys as counsel for value adjustment boards; amending
9s. 194.034, F.S.; requiring recommendations of special
10magistrates to include certain information; amending s.
11194.035, F.S.; applying to all counties a requirement that
12value adjustment boards appoint special magistrates for
13certain purposes; requiring value adjustment boards to
14verify the qualifications of special magistrates prior to
15appointment; providing selection criteria; requiring the
16department to provide training for special magistrates;
17providing training requirements; amending s. 194.037,
18F.S.; revising required information in the disclosure of
19tax impact form to include certain additional information;
20providing an effective date.
22Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
24     Section 1.  Subsection (5) of section 194.011, Florida
25Statutes, is amended to read:
26     194.011  Assessment notice; objections to assessments.--
27     (5)(a)  The department shall by rule prescribe uniform
28procedures for hearings before the value adjustment board which
29include requiring:
30     1.(a)  Procedures for the exchange of information and
31evidence by the property appraiser and the petitioner consistent
32with s. 194.032; and
33     2.(b)  That the value adjustment board hold an
34organizational meeting for the purpose of making these
35procedures available to petitioners.
36     (b)  In consultation with value adjustment boards, the
37department shall develop a uniform policies and procedures
38manual to be used by value adjustment boards, special
39magistrates, and taxpayers in proceedings before value
40adjustment boards. The manual shall be made available, at a
41minimum, on the department's website and on property appraisers'
42existing websites.
43     Section 2.  Section 194.015, Florida Statutes, is amended
44to read:
45     194.015  Value adjustment board.--There is hereby created a
46value adjustment board for each county, which shall consist of
47three members of the governing body of the county as elected
48from the membership of the board of said governing body, one of
49whom shall be elected chairperson, and two members of the school
50board as elected from the membership of the school board. The
51members of the board may be temporarily replaced by other
52members of the respective boards on appointment by their
53respective chairpersons. Any three members shall constitute a
54quorum of the board, except that each quorum must include at
55least one member of said governing board and at least one member
56of the school board, and no meeting of the board shall take
57place unless a quorum is present. Members of the board may
58receive such per diem compensation as is allowed by law for
59state employees if both bodies elect to allow such compensation.
60The clerk of the governing body of the county shall be the clerk
61of the value adjustment board. The office of the county attorney
62may be counsel to the board unless the county attorney
63represents the property appraiser, in which instance The board
64shall appoint private counsel who has practiced law for over 5
65years and who shall receive such compensation as may be
66established by the board. No meeting of the board shall take
67place unless counsel to the board is present. However, counsel
68for the property appraiser shall not be required when the county
69attorney represents only the board at the board hearings, even
70though the county attorney may represent the property appraiser
71in other matters or at a different time. Two-fifths of the
72expenses of the board shall be borne by the district school
73board and three-fifths by the district county commission.
74     Section 3.  Subsection (2) of section 194.034, Florida
75Statutes, is amended to read:
76     194.034  Hearing procedures; rules.--
77     (2)  In each case, except when a complaint is withdrawn by
78the petitioner or is acknowledged as correct by the property
79appraiser, the value adjustment board shall render a written
80decision. All such decisions shall be issued within 20 calendar
81days of the last day the board is in session under s. 194.032.
82The decision of the board shall contain findings of fact and
83conclusions of law and shall include reasons for upholding or
84overturning the determination of the property appraiser. When a
85special magistrate has been appointed, the recommendations of
86the special magistrate, which must include proposed findings of
87fact, conclusions of law, and reasons for upholding or
88overturning the determination of the property appraiser, shall
89be considered by the board. The clerk, upon issuance of the
90decisions, shall, on a form provided by the Department of
91Revenue, notify by first-class mail each taxpayer, the property
92appraiser, and the department of the decision of the board.
93     Section 4.  Section 194.035, Florida Statutes, is amended
94to read:
95     194.035  Special magistrates; property evaluators.--
96     (1)  Each value adjustment In counties having a population
97of more than 75,000, the board shall appoint special magistrates
98for the purpose of taking testimony and making recommendations
99to the board, which recommendations the board may act upon
100without further hearing. These special magistrates may not be
101elected or appointed officials or employees of the county but
102shall be selected from a list of those qualified individuals who
103are willing to serve as special magistrates. Employees and
104elected or appointed officials of a taxing jurisdiction or of
105the state may not serve as special magistrates. The clerk of the
106board shall annually notify such individuals or their
107professional associations to make known to them that
108opportunities to serve as special magistrates exist. The
109Department of Revenue shall provide a list of qualified special
110magistrates to any county with a population of 75,000 or less.
111Subject to appropriation, the department shall reimburse
112counties with a population of 75,000 or less for payments made
113to special magistrates appointed for the purpose of taking
114testimony and making recommendations to the value adjustment
115board pursuant to this section. The department shall establish a
116reasonable range for payments per case to special magistrates
117based on such payments in other counties. Requests for
118reimbursement of payments outside this range shall be justified
119by the county. If the total of all requests for reimbursement in
120any year exceeds the amount available pursuant to this section,
121payments to all counties shall be prorated accordingly. A
122special magistrate appointed to hear issues of exemptions and
123classifications shall be a member of The Florida Bar with no
124less than 5 years' experience in the area of ad valorem
125taxation. A special magistrate appointed to hear issues
126regarding the valuation of real estate shall be a state
127certified real estate appraiser with not less than 5 years'
128experience in real property valuation. A special magistrate
129appointed to hear issues regarding the valuation of tangible
130personal property shall be a designated member of a nationally
131recognized appraiser's organization with not less than 5 years'
132experience in tangible personal property valuation. A special
133magistrate need not be a resident of the county in which he or
134she serves. A special magistrate may not represent a person
135before the board in any tax year during which he or she has
136served that board as a special magistrate. Prior to appointing a
137special magistrate, a value adjustment board shall verify the
138special magistrate's qualifications. The value adjustment board
139shall ensure that the selection of special magistrates is based
140solely upon the experience and qualifications of the special
141magistrate and is not influenced by the property appraiser. The
142board shall appoint special magistrates from the list so
143compiled prior to convening of the board. The expense of
144hearings before magistrates and any compensation of special
145magistrates shall be borne three-fifths by the board of county
146commissioners and two-fifths by the school board.
147     (2)  The value adjustment board of each county may employ
148qualified property appraisers or evaluators to appear before the
149value adjustment board at that meeting of the board which is
150held for the purpose of hearing complaints. Such property
151appraisers or evaluators shall present testimony as to the just
152value of any property the value of which is contested before the
153board and shall submit to examination by the board, the
154taxpayer, and the property appraiser.
155     (3)  The department shall provide training for special
156magistrates at least once each year in at least five locations
157throughout the state. The training shall include emphasis on the
158assessment of tangible personal property. Persons completing the
159training will only be required to have 3 years' experience in
160the area they wish to serve as a special magistrate. The
161training shall be open to the public. Value adjustment boards
162that provide training for special magistrates shall advertise
163the training sessions and allow taxpayers to attend the training
165     Section 5.  Subsection (1) of section 194.037, Florida
166Statutes, is amended to read:
167     194.037  Disclosure of tax impact.--
168     (1)  After hearing all petitions, complaints, appeals, and
169disputes, the clerk shall make public notice of the findings and
170results of the board in at least a quarter-page size
171advertisement of a standard size or tabloid size newspaper, and
172the headline shall be in a type no smaller than 18 point. The
173advertisement shall not be placed in that portion of the
174newspaper where legal notices and classified advertisements
175appear. The advertisement shall be published in a newspaper of
176general paid circulation in the county. The newspaper selected
177shall be one of general interest and readership in the
178community, and not one of limited subject matter, pursuant to
179chapter 50. The headline shall read: TAX IMPACT OF VALUE
180ADJUSTMENT BOARD. The public notice shall list the members of
181the value adjustment board and the taxing authorities to which
182they are elected. The form shall show, in columnar form, for
183each of the property classes listed under subsection (2), the
184following information, with appropriate column totals:
185     (a)  In the first column, the number of parcels for which
186the board granted exemptions that had been denied or that had
187not been acted upon by the property appraiser.
188     (b)  In the second column, the number of parcels for which
189petitions were filed concerning a property tax exemption.
190     (c)  In the third column, the number of parcels for which
191the board considered the petition and reduced the assessment
192from that made by the property appraiser on the initial
193assessment roll.
194     (d)  In the fourth column, the number of parcels for which
195petitions were filed but which were not considered by the board
196because the petitions were withdrawn or settled prior to the
197board's consideration.
198     (e)(d)  In the fifth fourth column, the number of parcels
199for which petitions were filed requesting a change in assessed
200value, including requested changes in assessment classification.
201     (f)(e)  In the sixth fifth column, the net change in
202taxable value from the assessor's initial roll which results
203from board decisions.
204     (g)(f)  In the seventh sixth column, the net shift in taxes
205to parcels not granted relief by the board. The shift shall be
206computed as the amount shown in column 5 multiplied by the
207applicable millage rates adopted by the taxing authorities in
208hearings held pursuant to s. 200.065(2)(d) or adopted by vote of
209the electors pursuant to s. 9(b) or s. 12, Art. VII of the State
210Constitution, but without adjustment as authorized pursuant to
211s. 200.065(6). If for any taxing authority the hearing has not
212been completed at the time the notice required herein is
213prepared, the millage rate used shall be that adopted in the
214hearing held pursuant to s. 200.065(2)(c).
215     Section 6.  This act shall take effect July 1, 2008.

CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.