Report on NCRAAO Conference, June 2015


[lead]Three days in the Dells: How Iowa appeals; Reviewing commercial appraisals; and valuation issues of medical offices, and waterfront properties. [/lead]

Mirek Frolek, AAM
By Mirek Frolek, AAM

In June of 2015, I had the opportunity to attend the 2015 North Central Regional Association of Assessing Officers (NCRAAO) in the Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin.

The conference was held at the Chula Vista Resort which was located along the Wisconsin River. The conference consisted of a three day educational session which ran from June 15 to the 17th.


At 3 am on June 15th, I left Winnipeg for the 11 hour journey down the I-29 and I-94:

The reason for such an early start is that I wanted to attend the NCRAAO Executive Board Meeting which occurred at 4 pm that day.  At this meeting, each state talked about their relationship and issues they have with the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO), events and activities planned for the conference.  The meeting also discussed plans for the 2016 Conference in Des Moines, Iowa.

Members of the Board of Directors were from Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas, South and North Dakota.  The opening night consisted of the Presidents Reception and Silent Auction which allowed the opportunity for assessors to network and learn from others attending the conference.

For example, here is a brief overview of how the appeal process works in Iowa:  In Iowa, to get a Board of Review hearing, one has to file a petition between April 7th and May 5th. The Board of Review hearings usually happen 2 or 3 days a week throughout the month of May, though the hearings could potentially take place up until July (but that never happens). If a petitioner is unhappy with the Board’s decision on a property value, an appeal can be filed with the PAAB (Property Assessment Appeal Board) at the state level or in District Court.


“…while we may live in different countries, our issues are still the same”


Mark T. Kenney, MAI, SRPA, MRICS, MBA
Mark T. Kenney, MAI, SRPA, MRICS, MBA

There were a couple of sessions which made me realize while we may live in different countries, our issues are still the same.  Mark T. Kenney presented a session on Reviewing Commercial Appraisal where he shared issues regarding recent sales of shopping centers in the United States and the large discrepancies between sales and assessed values.

He spoke about their equivalent Municipal Board Appeal where capitalization rates used by agents use vacant or dark sales to establish capitalization rates for high value property regional malls.  He also spoke about the importance of using financing of major projects and how they should impact changes to assessed values of subject properties.


“This debate is consistent with the challenges in our own jurisdiction”


Ryan Gieryn and Dominic Landretti
Dominic Landretti, MAI, AI-GRS and Ryan Gieryn, MAI,

Ryan Gieryn and Dominic Landretti from Wisconsin presented an overview of medical offices both from a national and regional perspective.

Due to aging demographics, the vacancy levels are at lowest levels since the recession, with capitalization rates showing downward pressure.

New retail spaces are commanding high rental rates where rental rates are in the range of $20.00 per square foot net. In contrast, older properties have proven to be difficult to lease.

During the presentation, there was a discussion regarding the company Walgreens versus the City of Madison and the debate of Fee Simple versus Leased Fee.

The court ruled the following:

that the WPAM (Wisconsin Property Assessment Manual) aligns both statutory and case law requires that an assessment based on income approach shall develop an assessed value base on fair market rents rather than the actual contract rents…

This debate is consistent with the challenges that are faced within our jurisdiction.

Gary Griffin
Garry Griffin

Gary Griffin, from Brainerd, Minnesota did a presentation on Waterfront Valuation where he looked at all the variables that contribute to lake and river front properties.

He explained the different types of classifications used, the different types of shorelines, the adjustments used, and the impact of how recent floods have affected the evaluation process.

After the presentation, I spoke to Mr. Griffin and asked if he would be interested in presenting his research to our association, and he said he would.

While our 2016 conference plans are almost complete, the benefit of attending a conference like this provides tremendous learning opportunities for the association in bringing quality speakers for future events and different perspectives to the assessors that attend.

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