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Tax group criticizes hearing notification

Jack Carrerow

INCLINE VILLAGE – Tax protesters here may have misinterpreted the Nevada open-meeting law in a complaint made to Attorney General Brian Sandoval.

The Village League to Save Incline Assets Inc. has filed its second complaint with the attorney general against the Washoe County Board of Equalization, claiming homeowners didn’t receive adequate notice of the board’s meeting.

Nevada law requires public boards to post notice three working days in advance.

However, League members filed the complaint claiming they should have received notice in person at least five days in advance or 21 days by certified mail.

“This is just another case where the Board of Equalization is trying to discourage taxpayers from taking advantage of their right to be heard,” Maryanne Ingemanson, president of the Village League said.

The statute, which is contained in what was known as Assembly Bill 225, was adopted by the Nevada Legislature in 2001 and included in the Attorney General’s Manual for Open Meeting Laws under its current designation.

According to Ingemanson’s letter to the attorney general, she quotes the statute, which reads, “Under NRS 241.034, a public body may not hold a meeting to take certain administrative actions against a person, unless the public body has given written notice to that person. That notice must be either delivered personally to the person at least five working days before the meeting, or sent by certified mail at least 21 working days before the meeting.”

However, Washoe County Deputy District Attorney Leslie Admirand contends that Ingemanson has stated only part of the statute, leaving out a key element.

“According to AB 225, which became part of 241.034 and is on page 45 of the manual, the requirements of notice stated by Mrs. Ingemanson don’t apply to these hearings,” Admirand said.

The law makes a specific exception for “local and state taxing authorities,” including boards of equalization.

Admirand said the law requires only three-working-days notice and that the board is adhering to that requirement.

“We are still scheduling hearings and those people will be given the proper notice as to their hearing dates,” Admirand said.

Ingemanson said the short notice makes it hard for taxpayers to make their case.

“A lot of these property owners live out of town and it makes it impossible to be given such short notice and be expected to appear for their hearings,” she said.