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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 8:05 am 

Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2012 7:59 am
Posts: 1
In the German Black Forest city of Triberg, there are now easy parking spaces for females. Because that's exactly what those drivers who are inferior to men want, claims Mayor Gallus Strobel. Have you been looking to sell or buy a used or new Ford van?

Reason behind move

Due to more room, better lighting, no concrete pillars nearby and the ability to get in the spot from reverse or going forward, female parking spaces will make parking much easier on women. “Men are better at parking than women,” according to Triberg mayor Gallus Strobel, which is why he imagined it was essential.

"In the new car park, we found that two places were not rectangular, at an angle to the road and placed between walls and pillars; that makes parking difficult, so we decided to allocate them to men," said Strobel to German magazine Der Spiegel.

Strobel claims he is not sexism since the ratio of female to male parking spaces is 5 to 1, and women can park in the male parking spots if they want to. Strobel also makes it clear that some women are great drivers.

Good for the city

It is unknown if Strobel was joking or not, but he has gotten mostly positive feedback, even though there have been a few people upset over it not being politically correct. About 5,000 people live in Triberg, and the small town might get a little bit of publicity because of the move.

It is evidently really good for the city that Strobel will put in the spots. There was one female critic who has given negative feedback about the parking spots for women, but there was one man who said he wanted to try out the parking spots for women and said he would come to Triberg just to try them out.

"I never expected this reaction," he said. "I've been on the phone all day, the TV will come. I am happy, and it looks like we've hit a raw nerve in society. It's been a great marketing gimmick. Women can come here and prove me wrong, and while they're at it they can see the town's attractions.”

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:59 am 

Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:53 am
Posts: 2
The ARB will expect you to make your presentation in about three to ten minutes. They will typically wait patiently while you make your presentation and may have questions after you conclude. An appraiser from the appraisal district, who may or may not be the same person who attended the informal hearing, will represent the appraisal district at the ARB hearing. The appraiser will comment on the evidence you presented and will often present other information the appraisal district has available. If you requested a House Bill 201 package for your property, it substantially limits the evidence the appraisal district appraiser can offer at the hearing. The ARB members may have questions after the appraisers presentation. Then the property owner will be given a final opportunity to rebut evidence presented by the appraisal district appraiser and quickly summarize the evidence. The ARB members strongly prefer you not repeat your entire presentation at this point.

After hearing the evidence, the ARB members will confer and make a decision. This decision is not subject to negotiation and they will not revise the decision if further evidence is presented. When this decision is announced, the hearing is effectively over. The ARB will send a letter two to four weeks later summarizing their decision and notifying the owner of a 45 day limitation from the date receipt of the ARB decision to either request binding arbitration or file a judicial appeal.

Binding Arbitration or Judicial Appeal

Beginning September 2005, owners of properties with an assessed value of $1 million or less may file a request for binding arbitration. The owner must file with the appraisal district no more than 45 days after receipt of the notice of the ARB's decision. The binding arbitration option is interesting because it includes a loser pays provision. The appraisal district pays for the arbitrator's fee if the final value is closer to the owner's opinion of value, and the owner pays for the binding arbitration if the final decision is closer to the appraisal district's opinion of value. Binding arbitration was passed to provide an alternative to judicial appeals, which can be expensive to prosecute.

Many owners pursue judicial appeals to further reduce property taxes. In 2005, O'Connor & Associates filed over 1,200 judicial appeals on behalf of property owners in the state of Texas. The judicial appeals can be expensive if the property owner and attorney don't understand the process and have a plan in place to minimize the cost of legal and expert witness fees. Judicial appeals are typically successful. However, success requires cooperation from the property owner, such as providing responses to questions, documents and a deposition if requested. The judicial appeal is meaningful as an option to minimize property taxes since it reduces the base value. This is important because the appraisal district and ARB consider the base value in the subsequent year when setting the administrative hearing value.


Property owners can generate substantial reductions in property taxes by appealing annually. Consider appeals on both market value and unequal appraisal and obtain the House Bill 201 information when preparing for the appeal hearing. Property owners should consider all three levels of appeal: informal hearing, ARB hearing and judicial appeal/binding arbitration. While the ARB hearing and judicial appeal/binding arbitration can be an intimidating process, each is straightforward once you understand the mechanics.

Pat O'Connor, MAI is president of O'Connor & Associates, 130-person firm in business since 1974. O'Connor & Associates is the largest tax consultant in Texas, handled more than 43,000 administrative appeals in 100 counties in 2005 and is currently coordinating over 2,000 judicial appeals. O'Connor & Associates also provides real estate appraisal, cost segregation and market research services.

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