WEST virginia legislature
2016 regular session
Senate Bill 55
By Senators Sypolt, Miller and Blair
[Introduced January 13, 2016;
Referred to the Committee on Government Organization; and then to the Committee on Finance.]
A BILL to amend and reenact §11-1C-2, §11-1C-4 and §11-1C-7 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, all relating to reproduction, distribution and sale of tax maps; defining terms; specifying powers of the Property Valuation Training and Procedures Commission to promulgate rules; specifying duties of county assessors; requiring that sale, reproduction and distribution of certain records be in accordance with specified legislative rules; and specifying certain fees.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §11-1C-2, §11-1C-4 and §11-1C-7 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 1C. FAIR AND EQUITABLE PROPERTY VALUATION.
For the purposes of this article, the following words shall have the meanings hereafter ascribed to them unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
(a) "Timberland" means any surface real property except farm woodlots of not less than ten contiguous acres which is primarily in forest and which, in consideration of their size, has sufficient numbers of commercially valuable species of trees to constitute at least forty percent normal stocking of forest trees which are well distributed over the growing site.
timberland" means surface real property, except farm woodlots, of not less
than ten contiguous acres which is devoted primarily to forest use and which,
in consideration of their size, has sufficient numbers of commercially valuable
species of trees to constitute at least forty percent normal stocking of forest
trees which are well distributed over the growing site, and that is managed
pursuant to a plan provided
for in section ten of this article: Provided,
That none of the following may be considered as managed timberland within the
meaning of this article:
(1) Any tract or parcel of real estate, regardless of its size, which is part of any subdivision that is approved or exempted from approval pursuant to the provisions of a planning ordinance adopted under the provisions of article twenty-four of chapter eight of this code; or
(2) Any tract or parcel of real estate, regardless of its size, which is subject to a deed restriction, deed covenant or zoning regulation which limits the use of that real estate in a way that precludes the commercial production and harvesting of timber upon it.
(c) "Tax commissioner", "commissioner" or "tax department" means the State Tax Commissioner or a designee of the State Tax Commissioner.
(d) "Valuation commission" or "commission" means the commission created in section three of this article.
(e) "County board of education" or "board" means the duly elected board of education of each county.
(f) "Farm woodlot" means that portion of a farm in timber but may not include land used primarily for the growing of timber for commercial purposes, except that Christmas trees, or nursery stock and woodland products, such as nuts or fruits harvested for human consumption, shall be considered farm products and not timber products.
(g) "Owner" means the person who is possessed of the freehold, whether in fee or for life. A person seized or entitled in fee subject to a mortgage or deed of trust securing a debt or liability is deemed the owner until the mortgagee or trust takes possession, after which such mortgagee or trustee shall be deemed the owner. A person who has an equitable estate of freehold, or is a purchaser of a freehold estate who is in possession before transfer of legal title is also deemed the owner.
(h) "Electronic" means relating to technology having electrical, digital, magnetic, wireless, optical, electromagnetic or similar capabilities.
(i) "Paper" means a tax map or document that is not electronic.
The definitions in subdivisions (f) and (g) of this section shall apply to tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2001.
§11-1C-4. Commission powers and duties; rulemaking.
(a) On or before October 1, 1990, and thereafter as necessary, the property valuation training and procedures commission shall perform the following duties:
(1) Devise training and
certification criteria for county assessors and their employees and members of
county commissions, which shall include a definition of "appropriate staff
member" as the term is used in section six of this article relating to
required training, which definition shall include deputy assessors as provided
in section three, article two of this chapter;
(2) Establish uniform, statewide procedures and methodologies for the mapping, visitation, identification and collection of information on the different species of property, which procedures and methodologies shall include reasonable requirements for visitation of property, including a requirement that a good faith effort be made to contact any owner of owner-occupied residential property: Provided, That the commission is not authorized to establish the methods to value real and personal property, but shall have the authority to approve such methods;
(3) Develop an outline of items to be included in the county property valuation plan required in section seven of this article, which shall include information to assist the property valuation training and procedures commission in its determination of the distribution of state funds provided pursuant to section eight of this article.
(b) On or before July 1, 1991, the commission shall establish objective criteria for the evaluation of the performance of the duties of county assessors and the Tax Commissioner.
(c) In the event the Tax Commissioner and a county assessor cannot agree on the content of the plan required under section seven of this article, the commission shall examine the plan and the objections of the Tax Commissioner and shall resolve the dispute on or before the first day of the fiscal year following the fiscal year in which the plan was submitted to the commission for resolution.
(d) The commission
have the power to may make such rules as it deems considers
necessary to carry out the provisions of this section, which rules shall
include procedures for the maintenance, use, sale and reproduction of
microfilm, photography and tax maps reproduction of paper and electronic
tax maps. Any rules adopted by the commission prior to October 1, 1990,
under subsection (a) of this section are exempt from the provisions of article
three of chapter twenty-nine-a of this code: Provided, That the
commission shall file a copy of any rule so exempted from the provisions of
chapter twenty-nine-a of this code with the legislative rule-making review
committee created pursuant to section eleven, article three, of said
chapter twenty-nine-a of this code prior to November 30, 1990.
(e) The commission
have the authority to may make and enter into all contracts and
agreements necessary or incidental to the performance of its duties and the
execution of its powers under this article.
(f) In order to fund the
costs of the requirements of this article, the valuation commission
have the authority, on a one-time basis, to borrow $5 million and to
distribute such those funds according to need and the valuation
plan submitted by the counties. Upon request of the valuation commission, the
state Board of Investments shall loan, under commercially reasonable terms to
be determined by the parties, up to $5 million to the valuation commission, on
a one-time basis, from one of the various funds administered by the state Board
(g) The commission shall,
required, in the event that if the Tax Commissioner has failed to do
so, to appoint one or more special assessors if it is the determination
of the commission that an assessor has substantially failed to perform the
duties required by sections seven and eight of this article. A writ of mandamus
shall be the proper remedy if the commission fails to perform any of its duties
required by law.
§11-1C-7. Duties of county assessors; property to be appraised at fair market value; exceptions; initial equalization; valuation plan.
(a) Except for property appraised by the State Tax Commissioner under section ten of this article and property appraised and assessed under article six of this chapter, all assessors shall, within three years of the approval of the county valuation plan required pursuant to this section, appraise all real and personal property in their jurisdiction at fair market value except for special valuation provided for farmland and managed timberland. They shall utilize the procedures and methodologies established by the property valuation training and procedures commission and the valuation system established by the Tax Commissioner.
(b) In determining the fair
market value of the property in their jurisdictions, assessors may use as an
aid to valuation any information available on the character and values of such
property, including, but not limited to, the updated information found on any
statewide electronic data processing system network established pursuant to
section twenty-one, article one-a of this chapter. Valuations
not be based exclusively on such statewide electronic data processing system
network and usage of the information on such files as an aid to proper
valuation does not constitute an implementation of the statewide mass
reappraisal of property.
(c) Before beginning the
valuation process, each assessor shall develop a county valuation plan for
using information currently available, for checking its accuracy and for
correcting any errors found. The plan must be submitted to the Tax Commissioner
on or before December 1, 1990, for review and approval, and
plan must be revised as necessary and resubmitted every three years thereafter.
Whenever a plan is submitted to the Tax Commissioner, a copy shall also be
submitted to the county commission of that county and the property valuation
training and procedures commission, and that county commission and the property
valuation training and procedures commission may forward comments to the Tax
Commissioner. The Tax Commissioner shall respond to any plan submitted or
resubmitted within sixty days of its receipt. The valuation process shall
may not begin nor shall funds provided in section eight of this article
be available until the plan has received approval by the Tax Commissioner: Provided,
That any initial plan that has not received approval by the commissioner prior
to May 1, 1991, shall be submitted on or by such date to the valuation
commission for resolution prior to July 1, 1991, by which date all counties shall
have an approved valuation plan in effect.
(d) Upon approval of the
valuation plan, the assessor shall immediately begin implementation of the
valuation process. Any change in value discovered subsequent to the
certification of values by the assessor to the county commission, acting as the
board of equalization and review, in any given year shall be placed upon the
property books for the next certification of values: Provided, That
notwithstanding any other provision of this code to the contrary, the property
valuation training and procedures commission may authorize the Tax Commissioner
to approve a valuation plan and the Board of Public Works to submit such a plan
which would permit the placement of proportionately uniform percentage changes
in values on the books that estimate the percentage difference between the
current assessed value and sixty percent of the fair market value for classes
or identified subclasses of property and distribute the change between the two
tax years preceding the tax year beginning on July 1, 1993. This procedure may
be used in lieu of placing individual values on the books at sixty percent of
value as discovered or may be in addition to
such the valuation.
If such this procedure is adopted by a county, then property
whose reevaluation is the responsibility of the board of public works and the
State Tax Commissioner shall have its values estimated and placed on the books
in like manner. Such The estimates shall be based on the best
information obtained by the assessor, the board of public works and the Tax
Commissioner and the changes shall move those values substantially toward sixty
percent of fair market value, such the sixty percent to be
reached on or before July 1, 1993.
(e) (1) The county assessor
shall establish and maintain as official records of the county tax maps of the
entire county drawn to scale or aerial maps, which maps shall indicate all
property and lot lines, set forth dimensions or areas, indicate whether the
land is improved and identify the respective parcels or lots by a system of
numbers or symbols and numbers, whereby the ownership of such parcels and lots
can be ascertained by reference to the appropriate records: Provided,
That all such records shall be established and maintained and the sale,
reproduction of microfilm, photography and maps reproduction and
distribution of paper and electronic tax maps shall be in accordance with
legislative rules promulgated by the commission.
(2) The following fees
apply in addition to any fee charged by the assessor or the map sales unit of
the property Tax Division of the Department of Revenue for the sale or
microfilm, photography and paper and electronic tax
maps pursuant to the legislative rules referenced in subdivision (1) of this
(A) For a full map sheet, an additional fee of $3 per copy shall be charged, which shall be deposited in the Courthouse Facilities Improvement Fund created by section six, article twenty-six, chapter twenty-nine of this code;
(B) For a parcel reproduction on 8 ½ x 11" or 8 ½ x 14" paper, an additional fee of $1.50 per copy shall be charged, which shall be deposited in the Courthouse Facilities Improvement Fund created by section six, article twenty-six, chapter twenty-nine of this code; and
(C) For all other map sizes, an additional fee of $2 per copy shall be charged, which shall be deposited in the Courthouse Facilities Improvement Fund created by section six, article twenty-six, chapter twenty-nine of this code.
(f) Willing and knowing refusal
of the assessor or the county commission to comply with and effect the
provisions of this article, or to correct any deficiencies as may be ordered by
the Tax Commissioner with the concurrence of the valuation commission under any
authority granted pursuant to this article or other provisions of this code,
constitute are grounds for removal from office. Such A
removal may be appealed to the circuit court.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to clarify that the tax map rules apply to both paper and digital tax maps, and to create conformity between the language of the statute and the supporting legislative rule.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.