Is Local Tax Assessment A Transparent Process?

Sheridan County Commissioner Bob Rolston
Sheridan County Commissioner Bob Rolston

Several property tax assessment appeals were considered by the Sheridan County Commissioners this week. Though there were initially eight petitioners, several dropped their appeals because they worked out agreements with County Assessor Paul Fall prior to Monday's hearing.

Despite the initial recommendation from the County Attorney to dismiss several cases involving property of Mike Watkins and two of Bill Doenz, the Commissioners voted to allow full hearings on these cases. Bill Doenz says of the ruling.

Doenz says he hopes to increase the transparency in the assessment process. County Assessor Paul Fall indicated that he was not trying to “stonewall” anyone, but was restricted by statute; for instance, although people are allowed to review the assessment information during the 30-day protest period, he cannot legally give them copies at that time. So, does he believe the current statute should be changed?

As was mentioned, the County Attorney initially recommended that these appeals be dismissed because their petitions essentially said they did not understand how the assessment was calculated. Attorney Lynn Smith argued that does not constitute sufficient legal justification to allow the appeals to move forward, although during testimony, information was revealed which may have provided sufficient justification. In any case, the Commissioners voted to allow these three cases full hearings. Commissioner Bob Rolston.

The hearings are currently scheduled for late September.

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