Property should be appraised at the price it would bring on the open market, a judge ruled.
A Lawrence home owner whose property tax appeal triggered a grassroots tax protest movement lost in court this morning.
``We all lost,'' said Don Cashatt, 2714 Iowa, who now must pay taxes that reflect his home's proximity to commercial development.
Douglas County District Judge Ralph King ruled that county officials followed the law in appraising Cashatt's home at its fair market value and reversed a decision by the state Board of Tax Appeals. The BOTA had sided with Cashatt, who does not believe his appraisal should reflect the potential profit awaiting him if he eventually sells the property for commercial development.
Following King's ruling, Cashatt said he had not decided whether to wage his legal battle on up to the Kansas Court of Appeals.
Cashatt began battling the county after his valuation jumped from $72,500 in 1993 to $201,130 a year later. That boosted his tax bill to $2,762.
Public outrage over his case, particularly among elderly taxpayers, led to formation of the Douglas County Property Owners Assn., a tax watchdog group that Cashatt co-chairs.
Cashatt, who has lived in his home for 29 years, has watched his former residential neighborhood be replaced by commercial development. In making his ruling this morning, the judge described Cashatt's home as ``the last outpost of civilization on Iowa Street.''
However, King said the law clearly directed county officials to base tax appraisals on the price a property would bring on the open market.
King also noted that Cashatt's property had been underappraised for several years until Cashatt inadvertently brought his situation to the appraiser's attention by listing his home for sale for three months in 1994.