New Equalization Board Appointed

April 29, 2014
Dwayne Page

All new members have been appointed to the DeKalb County Equalization Board.

The county commission, during Monday night's regular monthly meeting, named Russell Watson, Ronald Ashburn, Carl Dwayne Webb, Phillip Hendrix, and Bobby Reynolds to serve on the board. Peggy Owens will be an alternate.

In the past, the equalization board has been made up of seven members, one from each district of the county. But under state law, there can be no more than five members. According to Tennessee Code Annotated (state law) "The county legislative body of each county shall, at the April session of each even year, from the different sections of the county, elect, for a term of two (2) years, five (5) freeholders and taxpayers who shall constitute a county board of equalization."

Based on population, the City of Smithville can have one member on the board. Russell Watson was chosen for that position.

According to state law, county equalization boards across the state are to meet each year on June 1 (or the next business day if the 1st falls on Saturday or Sunday). The county board is authorized by law to receive and hear appeals of current year property tax assessments as fixed by the county assessor of property. Generally an assessment must be appealed to the county board of equalization to preserve the taxpayer’s right to further appeal.

The DeKalb County Equalization Board will meet this year June 2-6 at the county complex in the office of the Assessor of Property.

Several weeks ago, Assessor of Property Scott Cantrell presented the county commission the names of five members he wanted to see appointed to the equalization board. But at that time, members of the county commission wanted to keep seven members on the board, even though state law only provided for five members. Cantrell submitted the names of Hilda Oakley, Jen Sherwood, John Hylton, Carl Dwayne Webb, Peggy Owens, and Rick Lee for consideration. Josh Miller was to be the City of Smithville's representative on the board.

Miller and Lee were later determined to be ineligible because of a state law that prohibits persons who receive pay from city and county governments to serve on the board. Miller is a city alderman and Lee is a county employee.

Cantrell told WJLE that he was disappointed that of the five remaining persons he recommended, only Webb was appointed by the county commission as a member while Owens was selected only as an alternate.

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