Chapter 4.28
BOARD OF EQUALIZATION1

Sections:

4.28.010    Establishment.

4.28.020    Appointment and terms.

4.28.030    Quorum.

4.28.040    Voting.

4.28.050    Duties.

4.28.060    Procedures.

4.28.070    Rules.

4.28.080    Hearing date establishment.

4.28.090    Recording and certifying proceedings.

4.28.010 Establishment.

In accordance with AS 29.45, there is established the board of equalization. The board shall be composed of five regular board members and two alternate board members appointed by the assembly. The alternate board members shall be designated by the board chairman, as need arises, to serve in the absence or disability of regular members. (Ord. 2016-40 § 25, 2016; Ord. 2015-66 § 3, 2015. 2004 Code § 3.24.002(A).)

4.28.020 Appointment and terms.

Regular board members and alternate members shall be appointed on the basis of their expertise in property appraisals, real estate market, construction, farming, and other fields related to their functions as members of the board of equalization. Regular board members and alternate board members shall serve for three years or until their successors are appointed and qualified. Terms shall be staggered so that approximately one-third of the terms expire each year. (Ord. 2016-40 § 25, 2016; Ord. 2015-66 § 3, 2015. 2004 Code § 3.24.002(B).)

4.28.030 Quorum.

A quorum of the board shall consist of five members. No hearing may be held or decision made in the absence of a quorum, except that a member disqualified by law from voting on a question may be considered present for purposes of constituting a quorum. (Ord. 2016-40 § 25, 2016; Ord. 2015-66 § 3, 2015. 2004 Code § 3.24.002(C).)

4.28.040 Voting.

The granting of any appeal or part thereof shall require the concurring vote of at least three board members. Any appeal or part thereof which is not granted by the board shall be considered denied. (Ord. 2016-40 § 25, 2016; Ord. 2015-66 § 3, 2015. 2004 Code § 3.24.002(D).)

4.28.050 Duties.

The board shall hear appeals brought to it and shall determine equalization thereon. The board may alter an assessment of a property only pursuant to an appeal filed as to the particular property. The board shall not hear appeals that do not relate to assessed valuation unless specifically required to do so by law. The board may adjust an assessment only upon proof by a preponderance of the evidence at the appeal hearing of an unequal, excessive, improper or under valuation. (Ord. 2016-40 § 25, 2016; Ord. 2015-66 § 3, 2015. 2004 Code § 3.24.002(E).)

4.28.060 Procedures.

In the conduct of its hearings, the board shall follow the procedures outlined in this chapter or as set forth in code or state statute; provided, however, that failure to adhere strictly to this procedure shall not affect the validity of the board’s action.

A. The presiding officer shall call the board to order at the time set for the first meeting and shall direct an explanation of board procedures, duties, etc. The presiding officer shall then conduct elections at which the board shall elect a chair and deputy chair. It is then the duty of the chair to call meetings of the board, determine that a quorum is present, arrange to keep a record of the actions of the board, exercise control over meetings so as to ensure the fair and orderly resolution of appeals, make rulings on the admissibility of evidence, and conduct the proceedings of the board in conformity with this chapter.

B. The appellant and the assessor may offer oral testimony of witnesses and documentary evidence during the hearing.

C. The hearing shall proceed in the following manner:

1. Appeals shall be heard in the order scheduled by the assessor. If an appellant is not present at the time scheduled, the next appellant will be heard.

2. After being called by the chair, the appellant shall present the appeal. The appellant may be represented by counsel, an agent or other representative, and may call witnesses and submit exhibits. The appellant’s presentation must contain evidence which, if not contradicted, would prove an unequal, excessive, improper or under valuation.

3. At the conclusion of the appellant’s presentation, the chair, members of the board and the assessor and the assessor’s representative may question the appellant. Questions are intended to inform and clarify and shall not be argumentative.

4. The assessor and the assessor’s representative may then make a presentation and shall answer questions of the chair, members of the board and appellant.

5. At the conclusion of the assessor’s presentation, the appellant shall have an opportunity to rebut the assessor’s presentation, except that new evidence shall not be presented.

6. If an appellant has refused or failed to provide the assessor or the assessor’s agent full access to property or records, the appellant shall be precluded from offering evidence on the issue or issues affected by that access and that issue or issues shall be decided in favor of the assessor.

7. When the appellant and the assessor have completed their presentations, the chair shall close the hearing and no further evidence or argument shall be considered. The board shall then deliberate and may do so in executive session. The board may then decide the appeal or it may defer decision until a time no later than one day following the last day scheduled for hearing appeals. The board shall issue its findings and conclusions in written form.

8. When the board has heard the appeals of all appellants who have appeared at the hearing, it shall take up the appeals of absent appellants. The appeals of absent appellants shall be considered on the date scheduled, upon material previously filed. If the material does not prove an unequal, excessive, improper or under valuation, the appeal shall be dismissed. This ends the appeal.

9. An appellant or the assessor may appeal a determination of the board of equalization to the superior court not later than 30 days from the date that the order appealed from is mailed or delivered to the appellant, and as provided by the rules of court applicable to appeals from the decisions of administrative agencies. Appeals to the superior court are heard on the record established at the hearing before the board of equalization. (Ord. 2016-40 § 25, 2016; Ord. 2015-66 § 3, 2015. 2004 Code § 3.24.002(F).)

4.28.070 Rules.

The following rules apply in the conduct of hearings and decisions of the board:

A. All persons giving evidence shall do so under oath. The borough clerk or a notary public shall administer the oath.

B. Formal rules of evidence do not apply; however, all evidence must be relevant to the matter being heard.

C. The chair may limit the time of the hearing and otherwise expedite the proceedings; provided, however, that the appellant and assessor shall have full opportunity to present all relevant, nonrepetitive evidence desired, and shall have reasonable time for comment thereon.

D. The appellant bears the burden of proof. The only grounds for adjustment of assessment are proof by preponderance of the evidence of unequal, excessive, improper, or under valuation based on facts that are stated in a valid written appeal or proven at the appeal hearing. If a valuation is found to be too low, the board of equalization may raise the assessment. If the board finds the valuation too high, the board may lower the assessment.

E. Following the board’s deliberations, its decision shall be announced in public session in the form of a motion, and a roll call vote shall be recorded. If no motion is made, the appeal fails and assessor’s assessment is upheld. A written decision shall follow the oral motion within the time prescribed in this title and shall contain specific findings of fact and conclusions. (Ord. 2016-40 § 25, 2016; Ord. 2015-66 § 3, 2015. 2004 Code § 3.24.002(G).)

4.28.080 Hearing date establishment.

Prior to the time for mailing assessment notices the assembly shall, by resolution, establish the dates of board of equalization hearings which shall commence not earlier than April 1st nor later than May 15th of the assessment year and shall continue until all appeals have been heard. Hearings for assessments listed on a supplemental roll shall be scheduled as necessary by the borough clerk upon request by the assessor. (Ord. 2016-40 § 25, 2016; Ord. 2015-66 § 3, 2015. 2004 Code § 3.24.002(H).)

4.28.090 Recording and certifying proceedings.

The borough clerk shall be ex officio clerk of the board of equalization, shall make a record of all proceedings before the board, shall mail a copy of the decision of the board to the appellant at the address on the appellant’s appeal form, and shall record the date of mailing in the record. The board of equalization shall certify its actions to the assessor not more than seven days after the last appeal is heard. Except as to supplementary assessments, the assessor shall enter the changes and certify the final assessment roll by June 1st. The board of equalization shall certify its actions with respect to a supplementary assessment within seven days after the hearing on each supplemental assessment appeal. (Ord. 2016-40 § 25, 2016; Ord. 2015-66 § 3, 2015. 2004 Code § 3.24.002(I).)


1

    For statutory provisions outlining the procedure for appeal to the board of equalization, see AS 29.45; for provisions establishing the board of equalization, see AS 29.45; for provisions relating to the board hearings, see AS 29.45.