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Excessive Assessment Appeal Services

Michael DeRosa Assessment Appeal Advocate
(c) (315) 406-7355
Mike Franklin Unique Property Advocate
(315) 876-2262


2018 Appeals

I'll speak in general term regarding SCAR cases and what transpired. I will not identify parties, but rather the issues addressed:

1) Petitioner argued recent sale of subject property if at arms length and not abnormal in any way is best indication of value. This is accepted to be generally true, but it depends on the circumstance. Also, I take into consideration the opposite argument"Welcome Stranger" and I dont allow a tax payer to have their cake and eat it too. Sale of the subject property whether it benefit property owner or damages property owner to me is counted as a sale with weight. It is indicative, but not to be used literally. In this case the property owner had recently purchased the property. The seller didn't use their own attorney. The transaction did appear to not be completely arms length. Also the comparable's used in the supplied appraisal were quite dissimilar. The sale was noted, but it had to be adjusted for an anomaly in the circumstance. The Assessor was presumed to be accurate. The property owner did not meet the burden of proof.

2) Repeated flooding that only impacted this particular property had water running thru the duct work and a moat around the house and water levels a foot deep all around the house. I concluded the lot was worth $15,000 and it would cost $10,000 to tear the house down so value was set at $5,000 and the town was told that if they can fix the drainage they could come back with a higher assessment figure at that time.

3) A neighbor to the above property also had flooding. It didn't impact the house like the other property. Assessor agreed to stipulate and the matter was settled.

4) Nice new construction in the woods by a creek. Neither side had any close comparable's. I asked if they could work something out if i went out in the hall. They met in the middle and everyone seemed happy. Property owner called me later and asked if they would have done better had I made the decision. I told him honestly, that I didn't know. It was a tough call. But I think he did OK.

5) I had a really disturbing case in that the property owner paid very little for a property he was to rent out. The Assessor raised his assessment 8 times what he paid for it. Assessor argued it is not owner occupied. Property owner admitted it wasn't. I had no choice but to dismiss it as I didn't have jurisdiction. That really bothered me because I knew he was getting a raw deal. But to qualify for SCAR the property has to be owner occupied. It doesn't seem right that you would need to go to supreme court over a house $15,000 was paid for. But that is the law. As ridiculous as it may seem. Or is.

6) There were two very similar properties side by side. I asked what the difference was. The Petitioner said the difference is the neighbors house was owned by the Assessors daughter and was assessed at about 1/2 of the petitioners. The Assessor respond by saying there was a reval done and they skipped his daughters house. The Assessor then stipulated to what the Petitioner asked.

7) Petitioner had a log home of which there were plenty of comparable sales except that he also had a lot of land the others didn't have. He claimed political bias. The land value had been set from a previous SCAR petition so we left that where it was and altered the house to what the other cottages, including one owned by the previous assessor were assessed at. The Assessor indicated the petitioner had a lot of data but none of it seemed relevant. Petitioner had provided a binder with approximately 70 sales and comparable assessments. I indicated they seemed quite relevant to me.

8) House was under construction but not finished. It did have a certificate of occupancy and the owner lived in it but the interior was not complete. Petitioner brought his appraiser and the appraiser testified to the completeness of the interior. Assessor indicated he had not seen the interior. So we went with a figure to compensate for the incomplete nature of the interior. And we made land adjustments to more accurately identify the mix of land types as part of the property was under major power lines.

9) Waterfront property land was argued as over assessed. It was an irregularly shaped lake. It is very difficult to compare parcels as they are all different. This one was assessed as one of the highest assessed parcels but didn't seem to be anywhere near the best. So an adjustment was made.

10) Property was new construction and assessed at a level higher than any property in the township had ever sold. Assessor used a building permit that indicated estimated cost to construct. Problem is the permit indicated a number for cost of a structure twice as large as what was built. Plus, cost does not equal value. The Assessor had no comparable sales to support his figure as there were none. A lot of the value of the land was as a corn field. Petitioner indicated that the value of corn had been cut in half since the land was purchased. A significant reduction was ordered and the Assessor told to keep an eye out for sales that could justify his previous figure. I didn't believe it was appropriate to speculate what it could sell for. We need actual sales. The location simply did not support the figures the Assessor was suggesting.


Grievance Day Advocates

Michael DeRosa Advocate (c) (315) 406-7355

Mike Franklin Advocate (c) (315) 876-2262