Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Grant Township Assessor Replies

The Grant Township Assessor e-mailed a reply to the property owner's letter that I posted here yesterday:
Mr. Rowden,

Land values have not changed on Wooster Lake and your overall value was reduced in 2014. I noticed on your tax bill mailed last week that your property taxes went DOWN approximately $1,000. By law, properties are valued based on sales in the previous 3 years of similar properties in the same neighborhood and we will continue to value your property in this manner. I hope you and your neighbors on Wooster Lake are able to reach an agreement on how Wooster Lake should be used but my understanding of the current use is that some owners treat the lake as non-motorized while others jet-ski and boat as they please. My office does not determine how lakes are used, only what the property on the lakes are worth.

I've already addressed the Tanneron Bay accusations. You can not compare your 3500 sq.ft. home on over 2 acres built in 2006 to a condo or townhouse.

Jeri Barr, Grant Township Assessor
If not directly, the Grant Assessor seems to have answered some of the questions I asked yesterday. I may understand this incorrectly, but the law requires our homes to be assessed based on how they compare with similar homes in the same area. Of course, the word "similar" is vague and open to interpretation. This I am sure is the basis for most appeals filed against our home assessments.

In the case of Wooster Lake, the question of how the lake is restricted seems to be irrelevant to this Assessor's purposes. What matters is that homes are assessed against similar homes. Of course, "similar" is in the eye of the beholder. There still seems to be a lot of arbitrariness baked into the whole system.


Anonymous said...

"A" for transparency, EOLC, but a lesser grade on the analysis of the Assessor's response.

The Assessor is contradicting her own words. In May 2014 Wooster was assessed as restricted. In November 2014 Wooster was assessed as NOT restricted, and that was reconfirmed in her April 2015 letter. Now the Assessor says she doesn't done any such assessing based on restrictions.

Moreover, the Assessor dodged Mr. Rowden's 1 request: to produce the Declaratory Judgment that supposedly empowered her to nullify the Wooster Lake restrictions in recording 5094179.

Bottom line: the Assessor is not only evasive in her response, she is again caught lying.

Anonymous said...

"My office does not determine how lakes are used, only what the property on the lakes are worth."

EOLC should know during tax hearings with Wooster Lake property owners challenging their assessments in 2014, the Grant Assessor dismissed every single one of the sales of recent Wooster Lake property sales as comparable properties. Barr and Spencer would not allow those sold Wooster Lake properties to be used as a benchmark, despite expert appraisers and attorneys presenting the solid arguments. Those sold properties sold at well below assessed values and show how badly the Grant Assessments have been.

What the Assessor did for comparables in the 2014 challenges was go outside the immediate market to other lakes where lake properties had been sold. The Assessor cherry-picked sales from these outside lakes and used them as comparables, rather than what Wooster Lake properties have been recently selling for.......if they sell at all.

Time for some handcuffs for the compulsive liars in public office.

Just another Illinois Chumbalone said...

Wait - the question isn't whether the Assessors' office can declare Wooster as restricted or unrestricted (which they seem to indirectly do), the question is; which is it the Assessor is using for determining property values? At one point a letter the Assessor says Wooster is regarded as restricted (EOLC posting dated 4/24) based on the false Covenants and restrictions of the WLCCA. Then the Assessor claims from a Chancery court ruling for monetary damages that Wooster is declared unrestricted. If you read that judgement order there is absolutely no wording whatsoever that makes that assertion by the judge - it only states the plaintiffs are entitled to monetary compensation for damages. I suggest people actually read that ruling posted by EOLC dated 4/26.

So which is it - are Wooster lake bottom owner properties assessed based on whether Wooster is restricted or unrestricted? A simple binary question. If either one is used, what official judges' ruling is that based upon? Another simple question simply asking for proof of a filed judge's ruling. As was stated by Grant Assessor, assessments are based on similar properties sold in the past 3 years. Fox Lake properties are not similar properties and condominiums are not single family residences so those examples have no say on the topic.

Another issue is, it is not the dollar amount taxes are being called into question, but it is the overall trend of certain property (i.e. Tanneron Bay) tax bills remain flat while surrounding single family residences tax bills have increased significantly even though their property values have actually declined.

Pinnochio must be jealous at how long the Assessors nose is at this point at trying to justify the reasoning in how properties are assessed for Wooster Lake homeowners.

Kirk Denz said...

Wow. Mr. Rowden asked for a copy of the Declaratory Judgment required for the Assessor to void the restriction recordings. NO RESPONSE FROM THE ASSESSOR.

I take there is no such Declaratory Judgment? So is the Assessor no longer changing the status to not restricted?

Please clarify Assessor Barr.

Maybe the Assessor could be clear and populate the Grant Township Assessor's chart that indicates which private lakes are being assessed as restricted and which are being assessed as not restricted. The chart the Assessor signed in May 2014.