Property tax controversy heats up

John Dougherty's latest report for NPRI on Nevada's property-tax mess is a must-read.

As John reports,

In a sharp rebuke, Nevada's 17 elected county assessors yesterday refused a request by the state Board of Equalization to appear before a board hearing on Dec. 3 to provide detailed information of how they determine the valuation of 1 million parcels of property throughout the state.

Nevada Assessors Association President Michael Mears, the Eureka County Assessor, sent a letter early Thursday to the board rejecting its request to appear at the hearing that has been planned since last spring. Mears said the assessors discussed the issue Wednesday afternoon and voted in favor of the association notifying the board its members would not attend the hearing.

The letter said assessors were too busy preparing valuation notices and that many were strapped for funds and could not afford to attend the hearing in Las Vegas. The association suggested the meeting be rescheduled for next spring, and that it be expanded to include the members of the Tax Commission and officials from the state Department of Taxation.

The assessors' refusal to appear before the equalization board comes as increasing public scrutiny into Nevada's property-tax-assessment system has revealed a systemic failure by the state Tax Commission and the state Department of Taxation to ensure that county assessors are using uniform methods for the appraisal of property. The state Supreme Court in December 2006 ruled that assessors must use only appraisal techniques that have been approved by the commission, per state law.

Read the whole thing here.

And be sure to follow John's reporting on this story closely. Things are really starting to come to a boil.

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