Assessment hikes surprise some in Platte County

04/30/2013 12:00 AM

05/20/2014 10:43 AM

Some Platte County residents have been surprised by sharp property assessment increases, but county officials say the changes reflect updates of current market value.

“In general, the numbers for Platte County are probably pretty flat,” said County Assessor David Christian. “There are pockets that the sales that we had showed were substantially under-assessed. I am suspecting those are the ones (property owners) who are making the noise. They got some increases.”

Many residents, including some in Weatherby Lake, said their assessments rose 50 percent or more.

“I think people were surprised,” said First District Commissioner Beverlee Roper. “In many cases it was a much larger increase than what they would’ve expected.”

Christian said most property values in Weatherby Lake had not been revised since 2005, leaving assessments far older than the state requires. Missouri law requires real estate properties are assessed at fair market value, so it was a top priority for the assessment office to review them, he said.

The assessment office examined recent property sales for the entire county over the past two years and identified several areas where sales prices were consistently above or below the values that were reflected on the county rolls.

Christian said a closer examination of the assessment records indicated that was particularly the case for a number of lakefront properties. Thirteen lakefront homes were sold for an average price of $541,985, but were assessed in 2012 based on average value of $341,265. The aggregate sales price for those 13 homes was $7,045,800, but their assessed value was $4,436,449, he said.

Weatherby Lake was one area where sale prices were significantly above the values from the county had in its records, Christian said.

An appraiser inspected each parcel in Weatherby Lake to determine if county records accurately reflected the property type and square footage. The county also conducted a land value study that was based on the sales data to determine a consistent method of valuing land at Weatherby Lake.

The values were confirmed by comparison with all of the recent sales in the area. Each parcel was assessed individually based on the fair market value as of Jan. 1 regardless of any prior assessed value.

Christian said the assessed value is 19 percent of the fair market value.

“We went in and made adjustments to them that brought them up to where the market value is, which is what we are required by statue or at least aim at setting the properties at market value,” he said.

There are other neighborhoods where the sales were far lower than the county’s recorded valuation and some reductions were made.

Roper, who lives in Weatherby Lake, said she has encouraged residents who were unhappy with their assessments to arrange an informal review with the county.

Landowners can provide additional information, such as a separate appraisal they may have done as part of refinancing or records of major renovations.

Landowners who still aren’t satisfied may appeal to the county’s board of equalization. Written appeals to the equalization board must be filed by June 14 or postmarked by June 15. Hearings will be held in July, Christian said.

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