Property Assessor Bill Boner Speaks Out

Rutherford County Property Assessor Bill Boner told WGNS News that he has not commited any of the charges that are made against him, and that he would resign if they were true.

There are specific allegations that have made, and the local property assessor has sent the radio station a written response to those charges. Here is the unedited response from Bill Boner. 

 I wanted to talk about some of the issues surrounding the Rutherford County Property Assessor’s office that has been in the media. I have some of the best people I can find working with me. We’ve run this office exactly the way the state wants us to run this office. All I’ve done is try to treat everyone fairly and equally in doing my job the way the state requires it to be done.
 
A Nashville TV station recently aired some stories about the operations of our office. I would like to present all the facts regarding these cases.
 
1. A homeowner on Burnt Knob Road complained about his appraisal of $117,000 increasing to $199,000. Our office reviewed the appraisal and learned an error was made. He appealed and the appraisal was reduced to $189,000. He recently had a refinance appraisal at $176,500.
2. Residents of Spring Lake subdivision near Joe Bond Trail complained a small tract of land with a power line easement and a common area playground was appraised for $60,000. When employees checked his complaint, they found the land includes a 30-acre lake with a boat ramp the residents use.
3. A homeowner who lives on Jackson Ridge Rd in Rockvale complained about his assessment going up. His appraisal increased after he added an aluminum carport and a workshop. He appealed to the County Board of Equalization and the appraisal was upheld. The homeowner stated a threat was made to take him off the greenbelt. The fact is, the homeowner was asked by the Chairman of the Board if he was on the greenbelt. This can be verified by tape since all board meetings are taped.
4. Someone erroneously stated I cut the home value in half for a cousin who lives on Old Nashville Highway near Chicken Pike. I have never met this gentleman and he is not a relative of mine. I did, however, pull my brother off the greenbelt since he was running a commercial business and did not qualify for greenbelt status. He is now in line with similar property owners.
 
Also, there were several complaints about my training and the way I run my office. Regarding the accusation a staff member took a test for me, I have a letter from Terri S. Kinloch of the County Technical Advisory Service that says, “The county Officials Certificate Training Program requires 32 hours of office specific training, 20 hours of management training, the Tennessee County Government Handbook correspondence course, a comprehensive exam and a three-day program called the Capstone Event. All classes can be taken in the classroom, online or by correspondence except the comprehensive exam and Capstone event. The comprehensive exam is a 50-question, closed book exam required to achieve the designation of Certified Public Administrator. CTAS staff members administer these exams and there is always a CTAS staff member present at each of these exams.”
 
The media said my office needed to be audited by the state. The state has quarterly reappraisal audits and an annual office audit. I have a letter from the Comptroller of the Treasury from May 10, 2012 that reviewed our office for the third quarter of the fiscal year. The letter says, “We have determined that your progress adequately meets the schedule established by your previously submitted plan for reappraisal.”
 
The state also does a sales ratio study to equalize properties. We are audited four times for reappraisal review, once a year for the general office, once every two years for a sales ratio study and every four years at the completion of reappraisals.
We try to make sure everyone is treated fairly. It can be a very confusing process for the average taxpayer because they are not familiar with the process. That’s why we have a new web site at rutherfordcountytn.gov/propertyassessor. We have done nothing in our office but try to treat everyone fairly even though some values have gone up and some have gone down. We’ve done this under the state guidelines and procedures. The state has worked closely with us to make sure we have done our job. Good reporting should involve seeking out all the facts before presenting a story to the public. If this had been done, a lot of misrepresentation could have been avoided.
 
Sincerely,
 
Bill Boner
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