Hires ‘hearing officers’ at $25 per hour
Platte County officials indicate they are expecting a large number of taxpayers to appeal the values that have been placed on their properties by the county assessor this year.
With that in mind, the Platte County Commission is contracting with a number of folks who will be paid $25 per hour to serve as “hearing officers” to assist in tax appeal hearings held by the Platte County Board of Equalization.
The board of equalization (BOE) performs state-mandated functions relating to the review and equalization of property tax assessments, including the judging of tax appeals. Current members of the board of equalization, who are appointed by the county commission, are Marlin Cone, Don Hoy and Lee Ann Fadler.
This is a reassessment year in Missouri, and the real estate market is hot in Platte County and corresponding home values have been on the rise, which could mean a lot of residential tax appeals.
On the commercial side, Ron Schieber, presiding county commissioner, indicated this week county commissioners believe that commercial property values have taken a hit due to COVID, as many businesses have had employees working from home instead of inside the commercial property. As a result, county commissioners seem to be thinking a lot of commercial property owners will be appealing their property value assessments.
Some real estate analysts recently told The Landmark that they don’t necessarily agree that commercial property values have taken a dive. Two real estate analysts speaking on Landmark Live recently indicated to the newspaper they have not seen commercial property sales prices take a hit over the past year.
At any rate, the extra help for the board of equalization will come in the form of the hearing officers contracted by the county commission. The $25 per hour paid to the officers–who will be independent contractors and not classified as employees of the county–could be paid for out of CARES funds if the service is performed by the end of June, county officials indicated.
If services are rendered after June, the county will look to cover the fees using money from the newest federal COVID aid, known as the American Rescue Plan by the Biden Administration.
“We anticipate using some of the CARES funds for this,” Schieber said at a meeting on Monday. Auditor Kevin Robinson then clarified that CARES expenses would have to be incurred prior to the end of June.
Schieber then said the county would hope to use American Rescue Plan funds for the hearing officer expenses incurred after June.
The contracts with the hearing officers indicates the contracts will terminate on July 31, 2021. Compensation is at $25 per hour and the contractors shall sign and submit a weekly time sheet as a billing statement for actual services rendered.
The contractor “understands and agrees that exact days and hours of work may vary based upon the number of appeals filed by taxpayers and that the county does not commit provide compensation for any minimum number of hours.”
Per the contracts, the contractors shall assist the board of equalization and will:
.Attend training sessions as scheduled.
.Hear evidence and make recommendations to the board regarding appeals of the assessment of property value by the assessor.
.Prepare written recommendations, findings, summaries or similar documents when requested by te board and in such format as the board may request.
.Advise taxpayer of the contractor’s proposed recommendation to the board and advise taxpayer of the right to appeal to the board.
.Provide such other services as the board shall request consistent with the contractor’s skill training and experience.
So far, the county has contracts with six hearing officers. County officials indicated Monday “there may be a few more down the road.”
The hearing officers whose contract were okayed at Monday’s meeting are Bette Henderson, John Younghanz, Scott Bredeson, John F. Smith, Richard J. Garvey, and Karin R. Lynch-Meyer.