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Friday, Apr. 18, 2014

County officials attend Board of Equalization workshop

Thursday, May 31, 2007

(Photo)
Teresa Houchin, Scott County assessor, and Shari Felter, real estate field woman, measure the outside of a home Wednesday
(Photo by Tim Jaynes, Staff)
BENTON -- Area county officials interested in learning about or brushing up on their knowledge of Board of Equalization hearings attended a Missouri State Tax Commission workshop Tuesday at the Cape Girardeau Administration Building in Jackson.

Among those attending were Scott County Assessor Teresa Houchin; Shari Felter, who does real estate review for the Assessor's Office; and Scott County Commission members Jamie Burger, Dennis Ziegenhorn and Ron McCormick.

"It had a good turnout of commissioners, assessors and county clerks," Burger said. "I thought it was very informative."

"It was very interesting," agreed Ziegenhorn, who will sit on a BOE for the first time this year. "We found out what we can and cannot do. ... A lot of the things I was familiar with because my background is real estate."

The county's Board of Equalization makes decisions on appeals of property valuations set by the county assessor.

The Board of Equalization consists of the assessor and the three county commissioners, according to Houchin, with the county clerk serving as its.

The county surveyor, when there is one, is also part of the BOE.

The workshop included information about "things that can be disputed or questioned and also how to properly hold a Board of Equalization meeting," Burger said. "You always learn a lot anytime you go to one of those functions. All in all, it was good."

The first step for a taxpayer to take in appealing the assessor's valuation is an informal review, according to Houchin.

"They just come in and say they feel like their property value is too high," she said. She and her staff then look over the assessment, discuss it with the taxpayer and review appraisals.

Houchin said around 80-100 taxpayers called or came in for "informals" this year.

If the assessor and taxpayer can't come to an agreement during the "informal," then a BOE hearing is scheduled.

Assessments in Scott County were completed by the first week of May, according to Houchin. "Around 14,000 people received impact notices," she said.

For those taxpayers who don't agree with the assessor's market value, "this is the time when people call and make an appointment with the office," Houchin said. "The dates for the BOE this year are July 10 through July 20. They need to call the office for an appointment."

Noting that "a lot of it was for the new assessors and commissioners," Houchin said for her and Felter the workshop was more of a refresher course "just to make sure we're doing things the way we are supposed to. A lot of the stuff we've been through. I learned a few things and I'm sure Jamie, Dennis and Ron learned even more than we did. We learned an appraisal over two years old is not evidence of any market value in a residential area."

Parts of the workshop focused on different assessing approaches, Houchin said.

"They talked about the Honeycut Cost System -- that's what we use. Some people use Marshall-Swift," she said.

Houchin said material covered also included how values are determined for different types of property. For example, when coming up with a value for an apartment complex, one of the factors to consider is how much rent is collected annually.

Houchin said there were no real changes made for BOEs although there was a clarification on how long an appraisal is good for.

"If they are coming to BOE, they will have to have an appraisal to justify the market value of their home," Houchin said. "Residential appraisals can only be two years old. Appraisals for commercial and ag properties can be three to five years old."