June 25, 2017
When property values are set, they are supposed to be substantially “uniform” with other similar properties. Are they? Why did the county properties have inflation increases when no city properties had inflation increases? What about certain commercial properties that are taxed (and have been for years) at residential rates? And what triggered the Board of Equalization chairman to suddenly add out buildings and a swimming pool to his taxable property in 2016?
One member of the Board of Assessors seems to be concerned as well. She spoke to the BOC during the public hearings on 6/19/17.
This year the City of Monticello properties had no value increases. According to the Tax Assessors, there was no inflationary growth in the City, but there was in the county. That seemed strange, so we looked into some data. We found that 48% of the qualified sales used were actually foreclosure properties; there were approximately 29 of them that sold for $500 each. Using these sales as bonafide sales seems to be improper and would result in incorrect values to other properties.
The “Edward Jones” office building, formerly owned by Susan Holmes and now owned by a family member, has been commercial property for 10 years or more. According to the property record, it has never been taxed as commercial property, but gets a tax break as residential property.
How many years has the Board of Equalization chairman gotten to pay less tax by not having his pool and several out buildings on his property card? How did they suddenly become taxable in 2016? When someone can sit on a board and decide if your values are correct, and not report their own property correctly, there is a problem.
Commissioner Bruce Henry queried the BOC if whether reviewing the county tax digest is something the Commissioners want to look into. Commissioner Luke says property owners in Jasper county are disproportionally taxed and the tax assessors’ office should set property values by either comparable sales or inflation, not both.
Citizens become disillusioned with the system when they see themselves paying more property taxes while others are getting a big break.