Senate Bill No. 717
(By Senators Helmick, Ross, Minear and Hunter)
[Introduced February 23, 1998; referred to the
Committee on Natural Resources; and then to the Committee on
A BILL to amend and reenact section eleven, article one-c,
chapter eleven of the code of West Virginia, one thousand
nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, relating to clarifying
legislative intent as to qualification of managed timberland
and effect of managed timberland certification.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That section eleven, article one-c, chapter eleven of the
code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as
amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 1C. FAIR AND EQUITABLE PROPERTY VALUATION.
§11-1C-11. Managed timberland; findings, purposes and
declaration of legislative intent; inspection and
determination of qualification.
(a) The Legislature finds and declares that the public
welfare is enhanced by encouraging and sustaining the abundance
of high quality forest land within the state; that economic
pressures may force industrial, residential or other land
development inconsistent with sustaining the forests; and that
tax policy should provide an incentive for private owners of
forest land to preserve the character and use of land as forest
land and to make management decisions which enhance the quality
of the future forest. In exercising the authority granted by the
provisions of section fifty-three, article six of the
Constitution of West Virginia, the Legislature intends that,
notwithstanding the provisions of section twenty-four, article
three of this chapter, managed timberland embraced in a
cooperative contract with the division of forestry shall be
valued as provided in this article and rules of the tax
commissioner promulgated thereunder.
(b) Upon request of state, county or other taxing
authorities of appropriate jurisdiction, the division of forestry
shall inspect property under contract as managed timberland and
shall have the authority and responsibility to determine whether
or not such properties do qualify. In the event that a property
is found not to qualify by reason of a change in use, or it is discovered that a material misstatement of fact was made by the
owner in the certification required in subdivision (1),
subsection (d), section ten of this article, the division of
forestry shall notify the state tax commissioner that the
property is disqualified from its identification as managed
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to clarify legislative
intent that the provisions of this article one-c relating to
managed timberland (as contained in §§ 1, 2, 5, 7, 10 and 11) may
not be disregarded by local taxing authorities. A recent
decision of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals holds that
the Legislature intended that, despite mandatory language, the
provisions of this article one-c could be disregarded and that
local authorities may
rescind managed timberland certification in
fixing the value of property.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken
from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language
that would be added.
This bill is recommended for passage during the Regular 1998
Legislative Session by the Forest Management Review Commission.