Reassessment ‘lot of lip service’

A lot of lip service has been given (by the county) to the effect that the Blair County reassessment process is all about fairness.

But when the formal appeals board won’t change an assessment in the face of hard evidence that it’s incorrect, how fair is that?

I hired a professional, state certified appraiser to evaluate the fair market value of my property. He went through the house top to bottom and inside out taking copious pictures, measurements and notes.

He then prepared an impressive 14-page report including detailed data on three sales of comparable properties within the last year.

Since his determination of the fair market value was lower than that assessed by the county, I filed for a formal appeal.

I went to the hearing armed with the required four copies of the appraisal and figured it would be obvious to the board members that this appraisal reflected a more accurate value than the one they had assigned without anyone even seeing the inside of the house.

I thought the hearing went well, but it’s impossible to tell what the board members think of your case as they tell you nothing at the time, just that you’ll be notified of their decision by mail.

I was shocked to receive notice that my appeal had been denied.

If this type of solid evidence isn’t enough to convince the board that their assessment is incorrect, what would do the job?

The really frustrating thing is that no reason for the denial is given, so I don’t know what they could have based the decision on.

If a professional appraiser’s opinion doesn’t carry weight, what would?

Or is the entire appeals process a sham, with an automatic denial a foregone conclusion?

Or could it be that what really matters is which of the multiple appeal boards you are assigned, with some being more able to comprehend the contents of an appraisal report than others?

I tried to educate myself on the entire reassessment process, going to the public meetings and reading everything about it on the county website.

The one theme that was stressed repeatedly was that the goal was for each taxpayer to be assessed at the true fair market value of their property.

That sounds good, but in practice I think expediency in getting the process finished is the real guiding principle.

Michael Boston