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Local review board hears appeals from Tea property owners

The Tea City Council with Tea Area School Board Representative John Herr, convened as the local review board Monday, March 21 at 7 p.m. The board addressed over fifty appeals.

Karla Harkness, Lincoln County Director of Equalization was present. Harkness said the County has given a grade to each property. She explained that the grade is determined by size, design, layout, the qualities of fixtures within a property, among other things. She said, “It’s a point system we use, so we are treating everyone fairly.”

Harkness said, “We start with the replacement cost new, plus or minus the depreciation… we are mass appraisers, so we treat everybody equally. We have information on the inside and the outside, we put into a computer system and it gives us a number based on the data collection.”

Harkness said the County’s goal is to be at market value. She said several times throughout the meetings that valuations are determined through market value.

The first appeal was from Unzelman Development Corp. A representative from the corporation was there to speak to eight properties in the Zelmer 2nd Addition. The representative said all are bare lots and have been for sale for 15 years, and are not moving.

In discussion Mayor John Lawler pointed out in the comparables listed that one had sold. The representative confirmed, saying, “Yes, one out of all of them.”

School Board president Herr said, “We are not going to be taxing more.”

He referenced the school’s request of $5 million that would not change. He said, “That’s what we collect over the new numbers.”

Lawler asked for recommendations on each property. It was recommend to adjust the assessment to $2.88 per sq. ft. to match the one that sold. This was a reduction from the appraised value at $3 per sq. ft. The change passed unanimously.

The next property owner to be heard was James and Paula Erck at 2301 Ivy Rd. Erck was appealing the $289,000 assessed value on his split foyer home. Erck referenced a recent lot that sold near him for less than his assessed value and also said split-foyer homes typically sell for less than ranch style homes.

The property owner had listed $260,000 on his appeal. Herr moved to change the assessed value, the motion passed unanimously.

Next to be heard was Jason and Candice Gearman at 315 W. Penny. Gearman began by stating that his property had been reassessed at $326,320, up from the last assessment of $284,000. He said, “I refinanced in July of last year and they appraised it at $305,000.”

Gearman also referenced several recent home sales in his neighborhood.

Harkness did clarify to say that assessment dates are based on November 1, 2014 to October 31, 2015 sales. She said the more recent sales will be used for the 2017 assessments.

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