The following opinion is presented on-line for informational use only and does not replace the official version. (Mich Dept of Attorney General Web Site -



Opinion No. 5281

March 8, 1978


Tax boards of review


Tax boards of review subject to Open Meetings Act

Meetings of tax boards of review must comply with the requirements of the Open Meetings Act.

Honorable Donald E. Bishop

State Senator

The Capitol

Lansing, Michigan

You have requested my opinion on the following question:

'Does a local Board of Review have to comply with the Open Meetings requirements as established by recently enacted statutes?'

Tax boards of review are the bodies principally concerned with the review of assessments of real and personal property not exempt by law for the levy of ad valorem taxation within each assessing governmental unit. The boards of review are established pursuant to different statutes, depending upon the assessing unit which each serves; examples being, township board of review, 1893 PA 206, Sec. 28, as amended, MCLA 211.28; MSA 7.28, and home rule city board of review (mandatory charter provisions), 1909 PA 279, Sec. 3(a) and (i); MCLA 117.3(a) and (i); MSA 5.2073(a) and (i).

These boards meet for the purpose of reviewing assessments rendered on property within the jurisdiction of the taxing unit and have the power to change the assessment roll. Upon completion of its review, the board approves the assessment roll for that year.

The importance of the decisions of the boards of tax review cannot be overstated since these units have a direct impact on property owners within their jurisdiction. Const 1963, art 6, Sec. 28 provides in part:

'In the absence of fraud, error of law or the adoption of wrong principles, no appeal may be taken to any court from any final agency provided for the administration of property tax laws from any decision relating to valuation or allocation.'

See, NeBoShone Association v State Tax Commission, 58 Mich App 324; 227 NW2d 358 (1975).

The Open Meetings Act, 1976 PA 267; MCLA 15.261 et seq; MSA 4.1800(11) et seq, requires meetings of public bodies to be open to the public.

1976 PA 267, supra, Sec. 2(a) defines a 'public body' to mean:

'. . . any state or local legislative or governing body, including a board, commission, committee, subcommittee, authority, or council, which is empowered by state constitution, statute, charter, ordinance, resolution, or rule to exercise governmental or proprietary authority or perform a governmental or proprietary function, . . .'

1976 PA 267, supra, Sec. 2(d) defines a 'decision' to mean:

'. . . a determination, action, vote, or disposition upon a motion, proposal, recommendation, resolution, order, ordinance, bill, or measure on which a vote by members of a public body is required and by which a public body effectuates or formulates public policy.'

It is clear that a board of tax review is a local governing body empowered by statute to exercise governmental authority and that a finding of the board of review is a 'decision' within the meaning of section 2(d) of the Open Meetings Act. It is also clear that its determinations effectuate public policy. Thus, the meetings of boards of review are subject to the requirements of the Open Meetings Act.

OAG, 1977-1978, No 5183 (Part II, No 19), p ___ (March 8, 1977) stated that the only permissible reasons a public body may hold a closed session are those provided in section 8 of the Open Meetings Act, supra. Sections 7(1) and 8(h) provide that where a two-thirds majority of the members of the public body vote to hold a closed session, a public body may meet in closed session to consider material exempt from discussion or disclosure by state or federal statute. Therefore, if a property owner whose tax assessment is under consideration by a board of review correctly asserts that the discussion of certain matters is exempt, the board may hold a closed session to discuss these matters by affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members.

It is therefore my opinion that meetings of tax boards of review are subject to the Open Meetings Act.

Frank J. Kelley

Attorney General