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Arbitration Rules and Procedures

Scope

To give taxpayers an alternative to pursuing an appeal of the County Board of Equalization's decision through either the Board of Assessment Appeals or the District Court, an arbitration process is hereby implemented pursuant to 39-8-108.5 C.R.S.

Arbitrators

The Board of County Commissioners will maintain a list of qualified persons who shall act as arbitrators of property valuation disputes. Such list will be kept on file in the office of the County Clerk and Recorder. Such lists will be updated or revised as deemed necessary by the Board of County Commissioners.

  1. Qualifications: To qualify as an arbitrator an individual, in addition to being knowledgeable in the areas of property valuation and taxation, shall be any one of the following: an attorney licensed to practice in Colorado, an appraiser who is a member of the institute of real estate appraisers or its equivalent, a former county assessor, a retired judge or a licensed real estate broker.

  2. Selection of Arbitrator: The taxpayer and the County Board of Equalization's representative shall select an arbitrator from the list on file with the Clerk and Recorder upon advancement of fees as provided for in paragraphs 3C, D, & E of these rules. In absence of agreement between the taxpayer and the County Board of Equalization, the district court shall select an arbitrator from said list.

  3. Oath: Promptly after an arbitrator is selected, he or she shall sign, file with the County and mail to each party the affirmation/oath set forth in the forms section of these rules.

Arbitration Procedures

  1. Filing: Within thirty days of the County Board of Equalization's decision, any taxpayer who plans to pursue arbitration shall notify the Board of his/her intent to pursue arbitration by filing with the Board of Equalization a petition of the forms supplied by the Board and payment of the fees set forth in paragraph 3 (C) (D) or upon waiver of the fee (paragraph 3 (E).

    By mailing or hand delivering one copy of the form to the County Board of Equalization withich is received or postmarked on or before the close of business on the thirtieth day following the County Board of Equalization's decision, a taxpayer will be deemed to have properly filed his petition for arbitration with the Board.

  2. The petition shall include the following:

    1. Name, address and daytime telephone number of petitioner;

    2. If petitioner is or will be represented by an attorney, the name address and telephone number of petitioner's attorney;

    3. Property in question - address, schedule and parcel number;

    4. Issues for arbitration;

    5. Fees have been advanced or fees are in negotiation with the County and will be advanced to be held in trust pending the arbitrator's decision;

    6. The arbitrator designated by the petitioner;

    7. Signature of the property owner or an officer of the company if the property is owned by a corporation or partnership.

    Whenever it appears that the petition is not filed within the time permitted by law, or the petitioner has failed to exhaust all procedures provided by law before appeal to the arbitrator, or the arbitrator otherwise lacks jurisdiction, the case may be dismissed on the motion of any party to the action or upon the motion of the arbitrator.

  3. Fees: Residential Property: At the same time the taxpayer files his intent to pursue arbitration for residential property, said taxpayer shall advance $150.00 to the Clerk and Recorder of Larimer County to be held in trust to cover fees and expenses of said arbitration. Said fees will be disbursed as provided in the arbitrator's decision. The arbitrator may decide that the entire fee shall be paid by the taxpayer or by the Board of Equalization or that each party shall pay a proportionate share of the fee. All, none, or a portion of the fees held in trust may be returned to the taxpayer, depending on the arbitrator's decision.

  4. Fees: Other Taxable Property: For cases concerning any taxable property other than residential real property, the taxpayer shall, within ten (10) days of filing his/her petition seeking arbitration contact the County Assessor or his representative to determine an estimated fee for arbitration. Fees shall be computed at $150.00 per hour rate. Upon agreement and deposit of fees with the Clerk and Recorder's Office, to be held in trust pending the arbitrator's decision, the matter will be assigned to the arbitrator. The fees will be disbursed as provided in the terms of the arbitrators decision.

  5. Fees: Waiver: Any taxpayer who is unable to advance the fees for arbitration can apply for a waiver of this requirement to the Board of County Commissioners. Grounds for granting a waiver will be upon satisfactory documented proof of indigency by the taxpayer.

  6. Hearings:

    1. Assignment - Upon payment of the fees as outlined in paragraphs 3C, D, or upon waiver of the fee (paragraph 3E) and the filing of the petition (see paragraph 3B) the case will be assigned to the arbitrator selected in accordance with paragraph 2B of these rules.

    2. Scheduling - Arbitration hearings shall be held within sixty (60) days from the date the arbitrator was selected pursuant to paragraph 2B of these rules. The hearings shall be at a time and place set by the arbitrator with the mutual consent of the taxpayer and the County Board of Equalization.

    3. Procedure - The arbitrator shall preside at the hearing. Arbitration hearing procedures shall be informal and strict rules of evidence shall not apply except as deemed necessary by the arbitrator in the interests of justice. All questions of law and fact shall be determined by the arbitrator. The arbitrator may determine time limitations or make other decisions in order to conduct a reasonable and fair hearing. All testimony in arbitration proceedings shall be given under oath, administered by the arbitrator. The order of proceedings in arbitration hearings shall be as follows:

      1. Opening statements, if desired by the arbitrator. The party initiating the appeal shall proceed first;
      2. Presentation of evidence by the petitioner;
      3. Presentation of evidence by the County Board of Equalization;
      4. Presentation by any other party or person admitted to appear; and
      5. Final arguments, if desired by the arbitrator, or direction to submit briefs, if desired by the arbitrator.

      The arbitrator may, in his discretion, alter or amend the aforementioned order of proceedings at any time and in any manner deemed appropriate and proper under the circumstances.

    4. Subpoenas - The arbitrator may issue or cause to be issued subpoenas for attendance of witnesses and for the production of books, records, documents and other evidence and shall have the power to administer oaths. Subpoenas so issued shall be served and, upon application to the district court by the taxpayer or County Board of Equalization or the arbitrator, be enforced in the manner provided by law for service and enforcement of subpoenas in civil actions.

    5. Parties attendance - The taxpayer and County Board of Equilization shall be entitled to attend, personally or with counsel, and participate in the proceedings. Such participation may include the filing of briefs and affidavits.

    6. The hearings can be open to the public; however, upon agreement of both parties, the proceedings may be confidential and closed to the public. The arbitrator may, in his discretion and upon prior written application, permit the appearance or intervention of persons or agencies not parties to the action for the purpose of submitting evidence, argument, or briefs as the arbitrator may direct.

    7. Record of Proceedings - No record of the proceedings is required.

  7. Arbitrator's Decision: The arbitrator's decision shall be in writing and signed by the arbitrator. The arbitrator shall deiver a copy of his decision to the parties personally or by registered mail within ten (10) days of the hearing. Such decision shall be final and not subject to review or appeal. The arbitrator's decision shall include:

    1. The county docket number;
    2. The title of the document as "ARBITRATION AWARD";
    3. The full case name;
    4. The identities of the parties who were present at the hearing either in person or by counsel;
    5. That the arbitrator has found in favor of the taxpayer or the County Board of Equalization and against the other party;
    6. The particular schedule number in question or dispute;
    7. The amount of change in valuation of the subject property if any;
    8. The amount of the arbitrator's fees and expenses not including counsel's fees incurred in conducting the arbitration and which party or both are to pay the fees;

      Note:Arbitrator's fees for residential real property shall not exceed $150.00. For all other property, arbitrators' fees shall be an amount agreed upon the taxpayer and County.

    9. A signature line for the arbitrator and the date of the decision;
    10. Witness fees and costs - Each party shall pay that party's own witness fees, attorney's fees and miscellaneous costs.

Application to Petition for Arbitration

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