City officials say the Actual Value Initiative’s aim is fairness. The reassessments property owners have been receiving since mid-February are supposed to be what owners would get for their properties if they sold them now.
State Rep. Kevin Boyle (D-172nd dist.) believes 97 percent to 98 percent of the assessments are just that — fair.
“But there are certainly some exceptions,” Boyle said in a March 1 phone interview.
He said he has heard of a Mayfair row home assessed at almost $300,000.
Realtor Chris Artur said he researched assessments and compared the new ones to sale prices in Mayfair and found average assessments more than $40,000 higher than average sale prices.
Another extreme example, former Greater Bustleton Civil League president John McKeever told the Northeast Times, is a retention basin on the 1900 block of Reilly Road owned by the Grand Manor Homeowners Association.
The parcel, used to slow water runoff, is smaller than an acre and has a 2013 market value of $2,000. The value for taxation on the property under the current system is just $640. For 2014, the city has assigned a $122,900 market value to the property, according to the Office of Property Assessments’ online records.
This is land that really has negative value, City Councilman Brian O’Neill (R-10th dist.) said on March 1.
“It’s a liability for the homeowners association because they can’t sell it,” he said.
If the assessment remains unchanged and taxes are figured with the rate most frequently mentioned — $1,250 per $100,000 of market value — the tax on what essentially is a big puddle would jump from $62.53 to more than $1,500.
The good news is it’s easy enough to fix if it’s incorrect, OPA Deputy Administrator Michael Piper said in a March 1 phone interview. There could be an error in one of the components used to arrive at the assessment. He suggested the homeowners association file a first-level review so OPA can re-examine the assessment.
The form for that review accompanied each reassessment notice the city mailed in mid-February. The deadline to request a review is March 31.
Representative Ed Neilson (D-169th dist.) said he knows of homes that sit back-to-back in Parkwood whose assessments differ by $20,000. He also said he knows of homes within the same block that have large additions but are assessed within $5,000 of the homes that don’t. The owners of the homes with the additions, Neilson wrote on Feb. 28, feel their assessments should be higher.
“Homeowners need to do research to be certain that the value is correct,” Neilson said. ••