Some Lagrange County Homeowners are Not Happy With Tax Reassessment

The assessed valuation of some homes in Lagrange County has doubled, thanks to the 2007 reassessment.

That is a major development to some who were expecting only minor changes this time around.

You could say taxpayers in Lagrange county find this reassessment just as appealing as the last one, judging by the number of appeals they've filed. “There was over eight hundred this time. There was almost that much last time,” explains Lagrange County Assessor Lori Carney.

“Our assessments have changed. They were dramatic around the lakes. And we did see some increases for those people,” she says.

Don Baldwin was fighting mad after the assessment on his lake home increased by 20%. “The appraisal came in a lot higher than what we thought the actual market value should be. Probably in the neighborhood of 40 to 50 thousand dollars higher than what we thought it should be so we are filing the appeal.”

On the other hand, Ann Bowerman is among several lakefront property owners who told us they're assessments doubled, although she's okay with it. “I got my reassessment and it did raise,
Probably doubled the value of the property, but it gets it up to closer to what I thought the value of it was. I still wouldn't sell it for what it's assessed at.”

Home sales are what this reassessment is all about.

Updating tax values that were based on sales from 1999,
and bringing them in line with the prices being paid in 2005.

The process known as trending was supposed to amount to a fine tuning. ”Trending in Lagrange county has gone way over what we expected. So I'm not sure what's going to happen,” says Representative Marilyn Stutzman. “If the rate does not change, you're going to see substantially higher property tax bills, and that's my fear.”

After this, reassessment will take place every year, based on information from the latest home sales.

That should cushion the blow caused by factoring in six years worth of sales, at one time.

By the end of the year, reassessment will take place in all Indiana counties.

Notices should be sent out in St. Joseph County sometime in May.


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