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Bad timing: State forces assessed property values up as economy remains slow

Friday, July 10, 2009

Recently, the Saline County Assessor's Office mailed 4,691 impact notices to residents countywide, informing them of a change in their property values.

These notices are the result of residential property reassessments, which the assessor's office has been conducting for the past several months, County Assessor Margaret Pond said.

A reassessment is required every odd-numbered year by the Missouri state constitution.

To determine a residential property's value, assessors follow a complicated formula, first measuring the size of the lot on which a house sits, and then the house itself. Values are given based on the house's age, what materials it is composed of and whether it has a basement, among other things.

Property values are also determined by sending sales letters to the buyers of recently sold homes. In these letters, assessors request information about the home and the price paid for it.

Once the market value of a property is determined, following the procedures above, its assessed value can be calculated. For residential property, the assessed value is 19 percent of market value.

According to 2009 reassessment figures, many properties are increasing in assessed value, though this doesn't necessarily mean that they are "worth" more than they were two years ago.

"We have not been up to market value" in most calculations for quite some time, Pond said.

And, like many parts of the country before the housing bubble burst, "Houses in Marshall are selling for more than we have on them," she said, meaning more than their recorded value.

In assessment calculations, the assessor's office is also using a new edition of the "cost book," which provides values for anything from a house's roof construction to its basement conditions and more. The old book was from 1980, so its figures were lower than current prices.

Additionally, the assessor's office has a new chart to calculate the depreciation of residential properties.

Pond realizes that these increases in property values are inopportune, as they come during a time of economic recession.

"This's been a really difficult time to do this," she said.

Margaret Alfrey, who also works in the assessor's office, said, "I feel so sorry for these people," especially those affected who live on limited incomes. She added that she herself received two impact notices.

But Pond said her office is just following guidelines from the Missouri State Tax Commission.

"They pretty much told us where we need to be," she said.

If the assessor's office had not increased property values upon reassessment, the office could have received a letter of noncompliance, which would mandate the property values to be corrected.

Pond reminded the public that her office does not tax county residents and that, theoretically, taxes do not directly increase with assessed values.

"We do not set tax levies," she said. "All we do is put value on your entities."

Pond said political subdivisions that levy taxes, like school districts and municipalities, should revise their tax rates after reassessment occurs. According to the tax commission's Web site, the subdivisions are allowed increased revenues to account for inflation and new construction, but must reduce rates after that.

Residents who would like to contest their reassessed property values are encouraged to visit the assessor's office at 101 E. Arrow Street, #203, or call 660-886-3111.

Alfrey said they should provide documentation to show the correct value of their property, such as an appraisal or insured value.

Contact Sydney Stonner at marshallbusiness@socket.net

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Welcome to the "Change"........... "Yes We Can't". And he ain't done yet!

-- Posted by waterman7622 on Sat, Jul 11, 2009, at 12:32 PM

Get used to being taxed out of your homes. Get used to being taxed more on your incomes and retail sales as well. This is all a necessary part of the social change that Obama has promised. The change takes place at all levels of government. I like to call it "trickle down" government taxation and spending. It's all a necessary part of the transfer of wealth to government coffers, where (according to big government philosophy), they will spend the money much more wisely than the people who earned it. Are we a socialist state yet?

-- Posted by Ray on Sat, Jul 11, 2009, at 9:12 AM

I agree with midmocat. The blame game was on, and there is nothing we can do about it. I disagree. We need to vote these folks out. Tax and spend. Tax and spend. Maybe the city needs to back down on spending so they don't need more taxes. Mr. Obama has promised change, and it has come to Marshall! Let's start a tea party here to bring the taxes back in line!

-- Posted by t-bone picker on Sat, Jul 11, 2009, at 8:56 AM

midmocat, beautifully said. i think ms. pond might be resting a little uneasy tonight considering her future and the fact that i will not vote for her next time ... my how barack has just absolutely stupidly screwed up things, but what did you expect folks?

you voted for him ... can you afford him?

-- Posted by aikman8 on Sat, Jul 11, 2009, at 1:01 AM

My 80 yr old mothers taxes were also raised numerous times. She is existing on $850 mo. She has made no improvements--as a matter of fact you could call it disimprovement. Where does it end. Our taxes have increased greatly as well in a manner that just does not make sense. When my mother called those elected officials that said there was nothing that could be done. Its really rather heart breaking. What are they going to do about it? NOTHING!

-- Posted by nougatocity on Fri, Jul 10, 2009, at 9:23 PM

Guys, really. Not to be rude or anything, but have you ever known a politician to listen to the people who hired them?

-- Posted by BlackBird on Fri, Jul 10, 2009, at 8:36 PM

I posted this on the Speak Out forum before Sydney posted this article. Something needs to be corrected with the system!

"Has anyone else's house been reassessed/reappraised or whatever the City of Marshall calls it? My parent's went up over 25%, on a fixed income. They have lived in their home less than five years and it has changed three times. No improvements have been made, explain this to me."

I thought the real estate market was DOWN! Prices haven't gone up.

-- Posted by writerintraining on Fri, Jul 10, 2009, at 3:50 PM

The people need get a petition signed and force our lawmakers to put it on the ballot to reverse the Missouri Constitution. The Constitution needs to be amended to also roll back property values in a recession and when properties are very low in values.

Lets put it up to a vote of the people to get the property taxes back in line with incomes.

-- Posted by muddywater on Fri, Jul 10, 2009, at 1:55 PM

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