Cole County Assessor: Few properties see increase

Roughly one in 12 Cole County property owners will see increases on their real estate this year, and about the same number will see decreases. But the rest — the vast majority — won’t see any change.

The Cole County Assessor’s Office has finished the reassessment process, which takes place every other year. Property owners seeing increased assessments have been notified, and the process for appealing is beginning.

According to Cole County Assessor Chris Estes, there are 33,661 total real estate parcels in the county.

Of that amount, 2,828 parcels saw an assessment increase. Of those that increased, 706 parcels were raised because of new construction, additions or remodeling.

There were 2,794 parcels that decreased in value, while 28,038 saw no change.

“All properties are reviewed,” Estes said. “We have computers run programs looking at a number of factors and then have appraisers check to make sure those figures are accurate. Every day we review properties.”

So far, Estes said, the reactions to the reassessments is about the same as they normally see.

“Most wonder why it went up,” he said. “We’ve heard about home values going down, but that’s not really true here in this part of the country because we didn’t see huge increases when other areas were going up 10-25 percent in places like Phoenix and Las Vegas. We haven’t seen home values drop that much.”

“Our office sent out notices to the property owners who saw an increase,” Estes added. “If yours stayed the same or went down, then you didn’t get anything from us.”

Estes said there are several ways to appeal a reassessment if for property owners who disagree with their assessments.

The simplist is an informal hearing in which an appraiser from his office will go over the property with the landowner to find the reason for the increase. If the two sides don’t reach an agreement, the property owner can appeal to the county Board of Equalization.

To get a hearing before the board, go to county clerk’s office on the second floor of the courthouse annex and get an application. Send it in and they will schedule a hearing.

The board is made up of the three county commissioners and two at-large members who are in real estate, banking or construction, so they have some involvement in the housing industry.

If a property is in the Jefferson City limits, then two members of the city staff sit in on the hearing.

They all vote on evidence that is presented, and it takes a simple majority for a matter to be decided.

The county clerk and assessor are also on the board, but don’t vote.

The board’s first meeting is July 1 and the last day a hearing can be held is Aug. 24.

“Once I certify values on July 1, by statue I can’t change a property value for 2013,” Estes said. “All changes would have to go through the appeal process, which could go all the way to the Supreme Court.”

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