Section 194.035, Florida Statutes 2003
194.035 Special masters; property evaluators.--
(1) In counties having a population of more than 75,000, the board shall appoint special masters for the purpose of taking testimony and making recommendations to the board, which recommendations the board may act upon without further hearing. Such special masters may not be elected or appointed officials or employees of the county but shall be selected from a list of those qualified individuals who are willing to serve as special masters. Employees and elected or appointed officials of a taxing jurisdiction or of the state may not serve as special masters. The clerk of the board shall annually notify such individuals or their professional associations to make known to them that opportunities to serve as special masters exist. The Department of Revenue shall provide a list of qualified special masters to any county with a population of 75,000 or less. Subject to appropriation, the department shall reimburse counties with a population of 75,000 or less for payments made to special masters appointed for the purpose of taking testimony and making recommendations to the value adjustment board pursuant to this section. The department shall establish a reasonable range for payments per case to special masters based on such payments in other counties. Requests for reimbursement of payments outside this range shall be justified by the county. If the total of all requests for reimbursement in any year exceeds the amount available pursuant to this section, payments to all counties shall be prorated accordingly. A special master appointed to hear issues of exemptions and classifications shall be a member of The Florida Bar with no less than 5 years' experience in the area of ad valorem taxation. A special master appointed to hear issues regarding the valuation of real estate shall be a state certified real estate appraiser with not less than 5 years' experience in real property valuation. A special master appointed to hear issues regarding the valuation of tangible personal property shall be a designated
member of a nationally recognized appraiser's organization with not less than 5 years' experience in tangible personal property valuation. A special master need not be a resident of the county in which he or she serves. No special master shall be permitted to represent a person before the board in any tax year during which he or she has served that board as a special master. The board shall appoint such masters from the list so compiled prior to convening of the board. The expense of hearings before special masters and any compensation of special masters shall be borne three-fifths by the board of county commissioners and two-fifths by the school board.
(2) The value adjustment board of each county may employ qualified property appraisers or evaluators to appear before the value adjustment board at that meeting of the board which is held for the purpose of hearing complaints. Such property appraisers or evaluators shall present testimony as to the just value of any property the value of which is contested before the board and shall submit to examination by the board, the taxpayer, and the property appraiser.
History.--s. 22, ch. 83-204; s. 148, ch. 91-112; s. 981, ch. 95-147; s. 4, ch. 2002-18.