Montana Administrative Register Notice 42-2-833 No. 18   09/23/2010    
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                                                  BEFORE THE DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE



In the matter of the amendment of ARM 42.18.205, 42.18.206, 42.18.207, and 42.18.208 relating to Appraiser Certification







TO:  All Concerned Persons


1.  On July 29, 2010, the department published MAR Notice No. 42-2-833 regarding the proposed amendment of the above-stated rules at page 1685 of the 2010 Montana Administrative Register, issue no. 14.


2.  A public hearing was held on August 24, 2010, to consider the proposed amendment.  Ms. Mary Whittinghill, President of the Montana Taxpayers Association, appeared and testified at the hearing.  Oral and written testimony received at the hearing, and subsequent to, is summarized as follows along with the response of the department:


COMMENT NO. 1:  Ms. Whittinghill stated she understands the division staffing issues and the time requirements of the employees who must prepare exhaustive narratives and the additional burden on management to grade those narratives.  She further finds it is unfortunate there wasn't a compromise in the rule amendment where employees would conduct some type of narrative to demonstrate their ability to independently conduct an appraisal.


RESPONSE NO. 1:  While a written narrative is useful as a tool to determine an appraiser's ability to independently conduct an appraisal, it is only one tool.  There are a number of ways the department assures that each appraiser is properly trained and capable of independently conducting an appraisal.  For example, the department follows the same process used in the fee appraisal industry, which includes the successful completion of course instruction.  In addition, the department uses ongoing mentoring and supervision by managers and lead appraisal staff to quality check and ensure that all employees are producing a credible appraisal that meets IAAO standards and methodology.


COMMENT NO. 2:  Ms. Whittinghill has a concern with the language that the annual training will be offered if funding is available and a significant number of employees require the training.  She commented that in the past, when funding was scarce, the division used their IAAO certified employees to conduct the training for other employees eliminating the need to bring in outside instructors for the initial courses.  When funding became available, they could then conduct higher level classes with outside instructors.  She further suggested, in the past, the department opened the courses to fee appraisers and other interested persons for a charge to help recoup expenses.


RESPONSE NO. 2:  The department understands that employee training which allows the department to provide good service to the citizens of the state is important, not only in the appraisal field, but in all services that the department provides.  Ms. Whittinghill suggests some good alternatives for training that the department will consider.  The department will continue to also provide training to its employees as a high priority, but must be prepared to respond if there are serious funding restrictions.


COMMENT NO. 3:  Ms. Whittinghill stated the quality of the work of the division in the recent appraisal cycle was among the best that she had ever seen, and such quality is dependent on the appropriate training of the employees.  Therefore, it is incumbent on the department to provide training to ensure appraisal consistency and valuation procedures that are consistent with a recognized national association.


RESPONSE NO. 3:  The department appreciates Ms. Whittinghill's praise of its employees and agrees with the importance of providing employees with appropriate training.


            COMMENT NO. 4:  Ms. Whittinghill stated that with the Legislature starting to examine shorter appraisal cycles and the department experiencing staff turnover, it is critical to offer training to the appraisal staff in these specialized areas, because the department will not find employees with this type of training short of hiring fee appraisers or others working in this field.


RESPONSE NO. 4:  The department agrees with Ms. Whittinghill. 


3.  The department amends ARM 42.18.205, 42.18.206, 42.18.207, and 42.18.208 as proposed.


4.  An electronic copy of this adoption notice is available through the department's site on the World Wide Web at www.mt.gov/revenue, under "for your reference"; "DOR administrative rules"; and "upcoming events and proposed rule changes."  The department strives to make the electronic copy of this adoption notice conform to the official version of the notice, as printed in the Montana Administrative Register, but advises all concerned persons that in the event of a discrepancy between the official printed text of the notice and the electronic version of the notice, only the official printed text will be considered.  In addition, although the department strives to keep its web site accessible at all times, concerned persons should be aware that the web site may be unavailable during some periods, due to system maintenance or technical problems.


/s/  Cleo Anderson                                        /s/  Dan R. Bucks

CLEO ANDERSON                                      DAN R. BUCKS

Rule Reviewer                                               Director of Revenue


Certified to Secretary of State September 13, 2010


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