How to Hold the LBAE Meeting
The extension of the State’s Stay at Home order until May 4, 2020, means nearly all townships must hold their Local Board of Appeal and Equalization Meeting (LBAE) in an alternative way. This article provides some information townships must know as they approach their LAE meeting and several options the township has to hold the LBAE meeting. It may actually be easier for townships to hold the LBAE meeting this year than in any other year because townships can hold their meeting by teleconference, MAT can help with the teleconference, and the Department of Revenue has already altered the rules for the LBAE meeting.
MAT encourages all townships to hold their LBAE meeting this year. MAT is available to help so township may continue to exercise local control despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the township board considers how to hold their LBAE meeting, they should know several things.
First, no in-person meetings during the Stay at Home order. Townships are not supposed to have any in-person meetings during the Stay at Home order, but they can use telephone meetings. For information on how to hold telephone meetings, click here. Or, if your township needs technical support for telephone meetings, please click here. Every township should be able to use telephone meetings because the only thing supervisors need is a telephone.
Second, Notice of the LBAE meeting must be published at least 10 days before the meeting. Townships already know this, and some notices have already been published. Different procedures are described below for townships, depending on whether the township has enough time to publish notice.
Third, the Department of Revenue has already extended the date for completion of LBAE work to May 31. Townships have more time than ever to finish their work. Towns should take the time that’s been made available to them to complete this work.
Fourth, the town must convene the LBAE meeting on the day set by the county assessor. Counties are not changing the date when LBAE meetings must convene, but the board does not need to complete the work that day. The board could convene the LBAE meeting and immediately move to continue the meeting to a later day, if desired.
Fifth, the town board may require all appeals to be made in writing. The Board will still need a public meeting to consider appeals, but they will not need to accommodate verbal requests during the teleconference.
Fifth, townships that do not convene their LBAE meeting will lose the right to hold LBAE meetings for at least two years. The county will take over LBAE duties during that time. Townships should not expect any legislative fix to restore their LBAE powers if they do not take advantage of their power to hold the meeting this year.
Options to Hold an LBAE Meeting
- Hold or begin the meeting by telephone conference: The township may publish and post notice of a telephone meeting. Please, ask for help from MAT if you have trouble with teleconferencing. At the proper time, all supervisors call into the meeting and begin their LBAE meeting as they would as if there were in the same place.
Publication: The township must publish notice of the telephone meeting. The problem for some towns is that they may not have enough time to give 10 day’s published notice of the meeting.
- Enough Time to Publish Notice: If you have enough time to publish notice, your notice will include the date, time, and telephone number and access codes needed to join the conference call. If the township will allow or require written appeals, the notice should indicate that.
- Not Enough Time to Publish Notice: If you do not have enough time to publish notice, your township will need to have one person attend the noticed meeting location in case someone shows up to that location to participate in the LBAE meeting. If someone shows up, the best option is for that person to be given the phone number and access code for the teleconference. But if the person cannot participate by phone, the board will either need to allow that person to participate by phone at the meeting location or ask the person to come back to a continued meeting later.
Method of Appeal: The Board should specify whether appeals will be allowed verbally, in writing, or by either method. The method selected should be included in the notices. If there is not enough tine to change the notices, the board should take any method of appeal.
- After beginning the meeting, the Town May continue the meeting until a later date: The Board must start the LBAE meeting on the date and time directed by the county assessor. However, the township board has until May 31 to complete their work. This means they can complete as much or as little as the LBAE work they want on that day, and then continue their meeting to a later day. If they want to continue at a later time, they may do so by telephone or in-person if its possible to do so at the time they reconvene. For example, a town board may need to start the meeting on April 14, but they could choose to continue the meeting to late-May when the Stay at Home order is most likely to be expired. They could then reconvene in-person.
To continue a meeting, a board member must propose to continue the meeting to a specific date, time, and location. A board member would say something like: “I move to continue this meeting to May 20, 2020, at 7:00 p.m. by telephone conference.”