Ag Advisory Board

Information was copied from: http://www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/proptax/agadvboard/index.html

However the CCAD has updated this section pursuant to PTC Sec 6.12 effective September 1, 2011, all information stricken through was deleted.

 

The Agricultural Appraisal Advisory Board
Effective August 28, 1989, Sec. 6.12, Property Tax Code, requires chief appraisers to appoint an agricultural appraisal advisory board. The legislature created this advisory board to help improve communications between the farming and ranching community and the appraisal district

Because the law is new and many chief appraisers are not experienced in working with an agricultural advisory board, we offer this review of the law and suggestions for its implementation.

Appointing the Board

The law requires the chief appraiser, with the advice and consent of his board of directors, to appoint an agricultural advisory board.[1]

The agricultural advisory board must have at least three members. These members must be appointed by the chief appraiser with the advice and consent of the board of directors. The chief appraiser may appoint more than three members, again with the advice and consent of his board of directors. The law specifies the qualifications of the three required members.

Two All members of the advisory board must be owners of qualified 1-d, 1-d-1 agricultural, or 1-d-1 timberland in the appraisal district who have lived in the district at least five years. One board member must be a representative of the “agricultural stabilization and conservation service” in the appraisal district. The Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service (ASCS) is a branch of the United States Agriculture Department—a federal agency. The agency’s national headquarters has prohibited its local offices from appointing an employee of the service to the board.

The ASCS headquarters states that if the chief appraiser contacts the county ASCS office, the ASCS county committee should appoint one of its members, not an ASCS employee, to the advisory board. The ASCS also does not consider the committee member’s representation on the board an official ASCS function. Because the ASCS is a federal entity, the state has no authority over the agency’s decisions about participation on the advisory board. We suggest that chief appraisers accept appointment of an ASCS committee member as the ASCS representative.

The chief appraiser may not appoint an appraisal district officer or employee to serve on the board. When making appointments to the board, the chief appraiser should try to achieve a balanced representation of agricultural or timber land owners. Some factors the chief appraiser should consider are: geographical differences in the area, different types of agricultural operations in the area, and the different sizes of agricultural and timber operations in the area.

The more representative of the community’s diversity the board is, the more likely the chief appraiser is to get useful advice and assistance. In appraisal districts having a great diversity of agricultural operations, the chief appraiser may wish to increase the size of the board to get adequate representation of all groups. Remember, though, that advisory boards should not be so large that business cannot be easily conducted. Our experience shows that groups of six to eight members are the least cumbersome and most productive.

Terms and Compensation

Board members may not receive compensation for their service on the advisory board.  Advisory board members serve for two-year staggered terms. When making his first appointments to the board, the chief appraiser is required to appoint one half of the members to one-year terms if the board has an even number of members. If the board has an odd number of members, the chief appraiser is required to appoint one fewer than a majority to one-year terms.

Meetings

The chief appraiser calls advisory board meetings and he must call a meeting at least once a year. three times a year. The board may have more than three meetings a year—the act simply requires at least three meetings.

To insure smooth, orderly proceedings, the board may choose to operate under Roberts Rules of Order or to adopt its own procedures. In addition, the board may choose a chairman and other officers.

The board is an advisory body, so it is not subject to the Open Meetings Act. However, the intent of the act was to increase public participation in the agricultural appraisal process, so we recommend that the board hold open meetings.

Detailed discussions of the Open Meetings Act and the requirements for publishing notice of the meetings appear in the May, 1989, issue of STATEMENT and the Board of Directors Manual published by the State Property Tax Board. In general, notice of the time, date, place, and subject matter of the meeting must be posted in a place convenient to the public (the courthouse) at least 72 hours before the meeting takes place. Appraisal districts serving all or parts of four or more counties must publish notice in their administrative offices and in each county courthouse they cover. In addition, these districts must file notice with the Secretary of State.

The appraisal district may wish to appoint a staff member to be a liaison with the agricultural advisory board. The appraisal district staff may be responsible for compiling materials and setting the agenda for meeting, taking and recording meeting minutes, contacting the media, and posting notice of meetings.

The Agricultural Advisory Board’s Duties

Under the Property Tax Code, the board’s function is to advise the chief appraiser on major issues dealing with agricultural and timber appraisal—net to land, degree of intensity standards, and other agricultural use and appraisal issues.[2]

As an advisory body, the board has no decision making authority or responsibility. The chief appraiser and the appraisal review board have statutory and legal responsibility to set values and make decisions on qualification for agricultural appraisal—this responsibility cannot legally be delegated to any other group or person not directly under the chief appraiser’s authority. The agricultural advisory board should not become involved in matters dealing with individual properties or in approving applications for agricultural appraisal.

The following is a discussion of some of the areas in which the board may advise or assist the chief appraiser. For more detailed information about productivity appraisal, consult the Manual for the Appraisal of Agricultural Land and Guidelines for the Valuation of Timberlands, available from the State Property Tax Board.