County reassessment mess spreads to 68,000 properties

by Joe Lambe

Jackson County officials – who said recently that errors led to  problems with 18,000 residential reassessments – on Monday said new reassessments will now be mailed to 68,000 property owners.

The new  notices will go out this week and appeal times will be extended, they said at a meeting of the Jackson County Legislature.

Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders said, “When this is all over we will do a top-to-bottom review of what occurred in this process, good or bad.”

The 68,000 properties, many of them in Midtown, are about a third of the residential properties in the county. They are those that county workers viewed from the outside, checked comparable sales for and plugged into a model they said would work.

It did not. Complaints about extremely high reassessments prompted a review that found problems with 18,000 properties.

Assessed Value Analysis was hired for $90,000 to help clean up the mess. Bob Burnett of that firm reported Monday that in checking into the 18,000 with increases such as 35 percent, “we found that those with increases of 20-to-25 percent had the same errors.”

Of the 68,000 properties, about 10,000 are condominiums. There were so many problems assessing condos that they will remain at last year’s values, officials said, unless they lost large amounts of value.

Of the 58,000 other properties, a “significant number” will see lower values than on the first errant reassessments, Barnett said.

But not all of them. “There’s still going to be a number of people who are distraught or unhappy,” he said.

So the deadline to file informal appeals by phone or online has been extended to July 22. The deadline for filing formal appeals with the Board of Equalization is extended from July 8 to July 29.

Also, starting Monday, county workers will be available to take calls for informal appeals from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Normal phone times will apply on Fridays.

The estimated county costs for second mailing of notices is $36,000. And besides the $90,000 for Burnett’s firm, Todd Appraisal is also getting $23,000.

County officials say the money had to be spent. They also say part of the problem is the state has drastically cut money to pay for appraisers and data process experts.

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