disputing tax assessments

Discussion in 'Real Estate' started by SoWalSally, Oct 22, 2005.

  1. SoWalSally

    SoWalSally Beach Fanatic

    Feb 19, 2005
    Likes Received:
    Letter to Walton Sun (not mine)

    VAB is B-A-D
    It?s another beautiful day in paradise, and I can?t believe how fortunate I am to live here. I lived in Atlanta for 20 years and was more than happy to leave behind many of the issues of big city living. Unfortunately one of those issues has followed me to Walton County.
    Almost every year in Atlanta, I had to appeal the valuation of my property, sometimes as far as the Superior Court.
    Assessments increased at alarming rates and uniformity of assessment was always at issue. I was thrilled to discover the ?save our homes? amendment in Florida, sparing me from the concern over increased assessments that could result in escalating taxes. I am not, however, spared from soaring assessments on the lot where I have plans to build a permanent residence.
    Upon receiving that assessment this year, I decided to research comparable properties and sales. It was clear to me that the assessed values were unrelated to market value as charged by the state of Florida.
    I appealed to the Value Assessment Board. The VAB consists of two school board members (Donnie Richardson and William Laird) and three county commissioners (Rosier Cuchens, Kenneth Pridgen and Scott Brannon).
    Rosier Cuchens was the chairman for the board. The county attorney (David Hallman) monitored the appeal process. During the appeal process the board was neither introduced nor identified by name.
    Upon arriving at the hearing we were disturbed to hear board members complaining about having to appear for two days for the VAB hearings.
    During the process we were informed by the county attorney that, ?you can take as long as you want, but you?ve already taken three times as long as the longest petition before you?. The entire process took only 50 minutes. That is hardly too much time to ask of a paid board.
    We had also been told that at the end of the hearing the VAB would convene to discuss the documentation presented. Apparently Rosier Cuchens felt that was unnecessary, and he made a motion to deny with no discussion. He then stated, ?Surely, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, you?re aware that you?ve purchased property in one of the hottest real estate markets in the state ? it?s hard for me to understand that you don?t realize this already and accept it in some way.?
    Apparently that is reason enough for the board to accept the county appraiser?s value.
    I do have the right to appeal to the Circuit Court of Appeals. I didn?t really expect the VAB to be experts in the appraisal process. What worried me about the hearing was the arrogance by moderators, the complaints from the board for having to meet for two days, and the lack of discussion of the documentation by the board members.
    And I have to wonder why Florida law allows the VAB to consist of people who are in charge of spending the tax dollars that result from the assessments.
    Sally Smith
    Santa Rosa Beach
  2. Dabell

    Dabell Beach Fanatic

    Sep 15, 2005
    Likes Received:
    New York
    The board should be fired!

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