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Miami-Dade property appraiser drops lawsuit filed by predecessor Carlos Lopez-Cantera


Property Appraiser Lazaro Solis has dropped a lawsuit against Miami-Dade filed by his predecessor, Carlos Lopez-Cantera, over the powers of his county office.

Lopez-Cantera asked the Miami-Dade Circuit Court in August to rule on how much control, if any, the county mayor and commission has over the elected property appraiser. Judge Jose M. Rodriguez has yet to decide the case.

In January, Florida Gov. Rick Scott appointed Lopez-Cantera his lieutenant governor. Solis, Lopez-Cantera's deputy, assumed the property appraiser office on an interim basis.

That prompted the county to file a new motion to dismiss the case, noting the lawsuit -- now in Solis' hands -- was challenging the very law that put Solis in power. Solis responded Thursday with a motion for voluntary dismissal.

Solis said he feared a ruling upholding the county's argument that he didn't have legal standing would sway the judge or diminish the strength of an eventual ruling.

"I believe in the merits of the case," he said. "However, I was caught in a technicality."

When a new property appraiser is elected this fall, he or she could turn to the courts again. Commissioner Esteban "Steve" Bovo tried to get voters to clarify the property appraiser's powers with a ballot question, but his colleagues defeated the measure on the dais.

This post has been updated to clarify Solis' position.


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Alex Dominguez

If elected property appraiser in August, I will re- file the lawsuit in our court system. The appraisers office should be independent of the commissioners and Mayor as is the case in all other 66 counties in Florida. The will of the voters has been ignored as this has already been voted for in Dade County. Hardworking property owners are tired of being overtaxed and should always receive a fair and accurate property appraisal. For the last 15 years over 46% of property tax appeals here in Miami Dade have been granted with only 6% being granted in neighboring Broward. These numbers are unacceptable and reflect the lack of integrity of the numbers coming out of the Property Appraisers office. These artificially high appraisals has now opened an avalanche of appeals filed by tax appeal attorneys who are flocking to Miami Dade because our bills are ridiculously high. Ask yourself why they are not going to Broward???? We need to get our act together, and bring fairness to Dade County.

Alex Dominguez
Candidate for Miami Dade Property Appraiser

sheila anderson

The real reason why Dade has so many appeals of assessments is because Dade has the only ethical Value Adjustment Board in the State. Read the current Findings of the Florida Auditor General to see the bias in other counties, and Broward has been highlighted as one of the examples of institutionalized bias. One reason for fewer appeals in Broward and most of the 65 other counties is the lack of confidence taxpayers have in those jurisdictions.

Taxed and spent

Sorry, these directors could be independently elected by the college of Cardinals and they would still answer to the BCC as long as the BCC has control of their budgets. It's the foxes guarding the hen house.
Just look how effective the last "independent" department has been...the ethics commission. One of the highest-paid county departments with the least to show for it . "delivering bullsh$t everyday since 1998"

sheila anderson

The budget is covered 2/3's by the County Commission and 1/3 by the School Board. So Taxed and spent has a point, BUT removing elected politicians from the process has worked, and worked well, in other states. Check out Tennessee. In Chicago, the board is composed of elected members. So there are solutions, but even before changing the board members, a more immediate fix would be to impose sanctions, which is in the first recommendation made by the State Auditors. If the VAB members, their attorney, or the special magistrates violate governing state law, they should face penalties - just as private citizens must face penalties when violating governing state law - such as failing to pay ad valorem taxes.

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