Board, owners question new appraisals

Published 10:51 am Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Questions remain about new commercial property assessments recently received by property owners.

During Tuesday’s county board meeting, commissioners said property owners have expressed concerns with their new values, which the board hired Vanguard Appraisals to complete because of discrepancies.

Those concerns are shared by some members of the board.

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Ted Goslinga of Vanguard Appraisals spoke to the board Tuesday about the methods he and Vanguard staff used in reappraising all the county’s commercial properties.

“What we’re doing is going out and using a mass appraisal approach,” Gosling said.

Vanguard uses the numbers from similar sales, along with changes in the property, to set the new value. Commissioner Jerry Reinartz questioned if enough sales have occurred for an accurate comparison, and he questioned Vanguard for using sales from five years ago.

Reinartz said few sales have occurred locally, which doesn’t indicate a strong market in which values should be increasing.

“The lack of sales indicates that the market is not good,” said Reinartz, who owns Reinartz Appraisals.

Goslinga said it was presumptive to assume the market is poor simply based on the number of sales. He added that Vanguard is also correcting false values.

“We did an extensive job here,” Goslinga said. “I think we did a good job.”

Goslinga stood behind the initial assessments.

“I think we’ve come up with fair and accurate values,” he said.

However, property owners with questions about their values can meet with Vanguard, and Goslinga said some values have already been adjusted.

Vanguard officials are available much of this week to meet with property owners, and it is recommended people bring additional information about their property.

County Coordinator Craig Oscarson said the assessments, which would take effect in 2013 if finalized, show commercial property values in the county increasing overall by about 29 percent. However, Oscarson said it’s difficult to tell how much of the increase came from new construction and how much was caused by only value increases.

The reassessments do not add any new taxes to the county; they simply shift the tax burden from residential and agriculture land. Oscarson said new assessments likely mean a shift from residential properties to commercial properties.