The property tax appeals process is one that most people rarely get to see, unless they happen to be H. LeRoy Whiteley, Jr. Whiteley is not only the president of Marylanders for Fair Property Taxation; he regularly appeals his own property tax assessments and is in the process of such an appeal in Harford County. One step in that process involves a hearing before the local Property Tax Assessment Appeals Board (PTAAB).
As Whiteley’s December 16, 2009 hearing date approaches, he is fighting attempts by PTAAB to limit the presentation of his case. Specifically, Whiteley seeks more time to present his material and he objects to a request that he refrain from recording his own proceedings.
Ironically, Whiteley also reports that he is one of three nominees proposed by County Executive David Craig to fill two vacancies on PTAAB. Whether or not he is ultimately appointed remains to be seen.
For now, Whiteley awaits a response to the following letter to PTAAB, a copy of which was provided to The Dagger.
Prefacing his letter, here is the email Whitely sent to all 11 of Harford County’s delegates and senators:
“Hello Delegates and Senators Here is a copy of our letter to the Harford County Property Assessment Appeals Board. As you can see this is another example of how the taxpayer is treated/ignored in the property tax assessment appeals process. This is another reason for you to support Senator Glassman’s efforts when he introduces the “Property Owners Bill of Rights” legislation this session. We hope you will be on board. Thank You. Roy Whiteley”
Here is Whiteley’s letter:
December 9, 2008
Harford County Property Tax Assessment Appeals Board
District Court Multi-Service Center
2 South Bond Street 4th Floor
Bel Air, Maryland 21014-8700
RE: Appeal Number 09-444
Property Account #13 03/068668/196
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Today we received your two letters in response to ours of December 4, 2009 to you.
The first is from Ms. Nancy Schmidbauer who has confirmed that the State will use the comparables contained in her July and October, 2008 letters to us to substantiate the value of our property. We will be prepared to address those properties.
The second, signed by the two current Board members, indicates that the hearing is limited to one half hour. It seems that Harford County chooses to ignore that they are paid by and work for County/State taxpayers. We have indicated that the material we propose to present will require more than one half hour to present. That being the case, we request that when we run out of time and have not yet finished our presentation the hearing be recessed and re-scheduled at a time when sufficient time can be allowed. We again request that the hearing be structured so that we are allowed at least one hour for the presentation of our material. Time for the State to rebut/defend should be extra.
Your letter also states, “We request that you do not record the hearing. There have never been any recordings, and we do not think your hearing should be any different.” You have not said we cannot record, what is that your position? Once again, Harford County has elected to completely ignore a reasonable request by a taxpayer that helps feed them. Many Counties allow the recording of their hearings. There is no specific law against recording of hearings. It is a valuable learning tool. And contrary to your statement that “There have never been any recordings….” That is just untrue. We have recorded our Harford County hearing on a previous occasion with now departed Stephen Lutche and Edward Hess in attendance. We therefore request that we be allowed to record our hearing using our own equipment that will not interfere with the hearing procedures.
H. LeRoy Whiteley, Jr.
Harford County PTAAB Data Request.0901
Cc: Kent T Finkelsen