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Your Stories

I've gotten a few emails expressing how this Adams County Reassessment has effected the average citizen. I hope to publish more stories here. If you'd like to share your story, please find my email address on the left navigation bar.

The first story is from B.D. from Lake Meade. His story goes like this:

Here is something you might find interesting.  I live in a residential neighborhood where all the lots, houses and property characteristics are basically the same.  I didn't think much about my reassessment until I saw all the news stories.  So I decided to take a closer look at mine. 

I thought my land value was high so I started to compare mine to my neighbors.  At first glance everything looked about right. All values were between $50 & $60K until I looked at the "base rate" established by the appraiser. I found that for the 14 properties on my street there were 13 different "base rates" ranging from $1.83/ sq ft for the largest (32,600 sq ft) nicest lot, to $5.36/sq ft for the smallest (10,200 sq ft) lot on the block. I was amazed to find that this small lot was right next door to a 30K sq ft lot that was only valued at $2.00/ sq ft. 

I have never heard a real estate agent say that a building lot is worth more because it is smaller. I called the appraisers office to find out why smaller lots were valued higher than larger ones but they could not answer the question and suggested that I schedule an informal appeal to get the answer. I e-mailed the county commission with the same question. Commissioner Weikert responded that it was possible that "economies of scale fall into the equation" and he suggested that I schedule an informal appeal to get better answers, so I did.

At my hearing we cleared up some property description discrepancies and then I first asked how the appraiser came up with the value for my building, then I asked how the lot "base rates" were determined and why there were 13 different rates on my street of 14 homes.  I presented a spread sheet and parcel map showing the properties, their size, their base rates and market values as determined by the appraiser. I asked if there was some logical reason for the difference other than an intentional discrimination to control the property values in a particular neighborhood.  I must have hit a nerve because the assistant scooped up my papers and disappeared into a back room. A few minutes later my assistant reappeared and said that no one was there who could answer my questions but they were able to reduce my assessment by more that $14K, no questions asked, no further proof, nothing to explain how or why the "new" value was determined just a wave of the magic wand to make the inquiry go away. I feel that as taxpayers we all have the right to know how this formula is determined and why one square foot of dirt is worth $5.00 while the square foot of dirt next door is only worth $2.00!!!!  

Apparently it's not just my story, it's every Adams County taxpayers story. Since I can't get the Appraisers office, the County Commissioner or the news papers to investigate and/or respond with a logical answer to this "voodoo" assessment method please make others aware of what's going on. 

My neighborhood is the Lake Meade subdivision.  Some may think that this is an upscale, wealthy neighborhood the reality is that most people that live here are middle income workers with modest homes where we pay for our own security, fire and EMS service, road maintenance and provide our own sewer and water with no help from county government and no tax reduction for providing services that the county doesn't.  Property values here are just as depressed as those across the county with numerous foreclosures and about 10-12% of the 1060 homes in the community currently for sale at prices 15 - 20% below the "new assessed values" with few people looking and even fewer buying.  Hope you can find out the true and fair price of a square foot of dirt between neighbors!!!!

Great Question B.D.! Your story piqued my interest into the land values in my own neighborhood and this is what I found:

My particular street seemed to follow much the same pattern as B.D.'s above. The smaller properties have the higher Assessment Values (per square foot) than the larger properties. The lot my house sits on has the third highest (per square footage) assessed value on my street at $3.20/sq ft. This lot has about a 7% slope and a large sandmound septic system which makes my little .47 acres quite crowded and unusable as a backyard. Therefore I acquired the adjoining lot which is .63 acres. This lot has an assessed value of $2.73/sq ft, and this lot doesn't perk! Together, the two lots provide just over an acre which allows an adequate back yard for the kids to play.

Next to my un-perkable lot is the biggest (1.34 acres), and most desirable lot in the neighborhood. It has an assessed value of just $1.50/sq ft. Now I know what B.D. was talking about. Why in the world does a smaller lot cost more per square foot of dirt than a larger lot.

To make even more comparisons, I picked a street out that I knew has Public Sewer. These graded out the same way. The smallest lots again were assessed more per square foot than the larger ones. Not only that, but MY private sewered lot cost MORE than all but one of the Public Sewered lots listed. How in the world does that happen!! Can someone of sound mind please explain to me, how a lot that needs $20-30k of private sewer improvements, comes to have a higher assessed value (per sq/ft) than most Public sewered lots? I think this is a great example of non-uniformity in this Court-mandated, County-wide Reassessment. Below I've provided the link to my chart detailing the above revelations.

Someone please explain this to me!





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