Sunday, October 01, 2006

Ineffective Auditor

In watching the interview today on Conklin & Co. with Anita Lopez, Anita focused heavily on the reevaluation process for homes in Lucas County commenting that it is up to the homeowner to prove the evaluation is incorrect. She is absolutely right in this assessment. When the homes were reevaluated for 2003, I was ill and not able to deal with the evaluation. There are 22 homes on our street, all brick ranches built in the mid-50s by the same contractor with the same general floor plan and amenities. Not including our home in the valuations for 2003, the average appraised value is $136,543. Our home was appraised at $155,400 and the assessment is $160,400.

When the documents came out this year, the assessment was raised to $169,000. I could locate 9 homes sold since 2002 with an average selling price of $131,622. So I have gone through a lengthy process of researching all this information, filling out a form on the web page requesting a review and filling out the review form mailed to our home which must be at the Auditor’s office on Monday, Oct. 2 requesting an adjustment in the tax base for the home. In all, I’ve spent more than 10 hours so far and will probably be called downtown for a review meeting in the auditor’s office. Since I work M-F, 8 to 5, I’ll have to take time off work to attend the meeting.

I’ve heard Larry Kaczala say the system works because of the number of citizens who have requested the review, indicating the Auditor’s Office is responsive to the homeowner. I don’t think this works, how many homeowners would have the knowledge to search for recently sold homes, look up the information on the web, submit the request for audit and go through this process. Lack of knowledge, resources and time prevents homeowners from receiving due process. As Anita said, the system needs to be fixed.

2 comments:

Kate said...

Your question: "how many homeowners would have the knowledge to search for recently sold homes, look up the information on the web, submit the request for audit and go through this process."

My answer to that is - likely very few people know about this or how to do it.

This is not a tax payer friendly process. First and foremost - city and county officials need to stop relying on the ignorance of their constituants to take advantage of them. It is not the home owners JOB in Toledo to know what the Auditors' job is and how to survive the tactics. That's a predatory stance and I think people have had enough of that. (Disclaimer - I have found some informed, interested and very ethical people on each and every board, commission and council in our area. I do have to state that they are a significant minority however).

Secondly, to fail to make your services available to the constituents - when you are a tax funded service, during the hours where people are typically employed at the positions that provide those tax funds - is disrespectful.

Again - I think people have had enough of it. I know that I certainly have.

Kate said...

I'm happy to say that I understand this process now. The auditor has gone above and beyond to explain this process to the public.

This is what we should expect out of an elected politician and I am glad to see it!