Archive for Sunday, September 7, 2008

Broken system

September 7, 2008


To the editor:

This is in reference to the Aug. 18 article on the Journal-World business page titled "System regulating real-estate appraisers 'completely broken.'" The article pointed out that many times private real-estate appraisers are pressured into inflating house values. Reviewing my property tax valuation for the seven years I have lived at my current address, it would appear that our county appraisers feel this same pressure from somewhere - county administration, city commission, building contractors or the real-estate sales companies, who knows?

My 2002-03 value was up $3,700; 2003-04 was up $9,700. I protested partly because my house description included a fireplace I did not have. The 2004-05 value stayed at the 2003 level. In 2006, it jumped up $13,400, more than making up for the two-year reduction. Never mind the fact that since the house was constructed in 1998, it already had been overvalued for four years - for a fireplace that was not there.

In 2007, there was another $5,760 rise in value; 2008 was $680. This is an awful lot of variation in just a few years for a system that is supposed to be equal and fair.

Bruce Muzzy,


Chris Ogle 9 years, 7 months ago

Lawrence is BROKE in more ways than one. In fact the picture is getting worse. Wait (and it won't be long) until county appraisers are forced to correct valuations due to comps. The T will go down, water bills will go up, mill levy will go through the roof. Oh what fun this is!!!!Lawrence Kansas

Brent Garner 9 years, 7 months ago

Two things know not satisfaction: the grave and the governments hunger for taxes/revenue.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 7 months ago

This is how the bills get paid in a bedroom community. Inflated values disguised by the words "quality of life". The real estate industry makes lots of money whereas the payback to the community cookie jars comes at a high cost to property owners.Now you understand the terminology "residential does not pay for itself". Ideally property values and taxes should not increase at more than 3%-4%. Additional new homes and neighborhoods cost existing residents a lot of money in bedroom communities.Your $680 comes at a high price as well. How can the city/ county cookie jars afford such a huge cut? User fees have increased dramatically.... water,sewer etc etc. YES the increased cost of living is wearing some new faces aka masks. The Chamber has demanded lower personal property taxes which means the money must come from elsewhere yet still from the residents. In reality the cost of living in Lawrence is not going down no way jose'.Real Estate values are dropping yet the powers that be continue to approve more residential. How does flooding the market stabilize our real estate values to the 2003 & 2004 levels? There are probably homeowners in town who cannot sell their homes for what they owe.

repaste 9 years, 7 months ago

Impact fees. Look out west , they have sewers from 1750 rd to the trafficway, all the way to martin park. Lift stations, paved rod, new water tower, all for 1-2 thousand acres of empty land owned by --? 1750 and Queens, big new barn, is it paying comercial taxes? What about all the landscaping supplies & equipment? Someone look that up - looks like commercial property to me. Developers are preparing huge chunks of our city for development at a time when the city has no money, when we do not need it yet. Why have they built 1000+ new "condos" in the last year with flat growth. The developer runs Lawrence. period.

David Omar 9 years, 7 months ago

This notion of a County "Appraisal" on your property is quite misleading. They are not determining the value of your property for anything other than taxation. When I lived in other states, they rightly called it an "assessment" of property value, not appraisal. An appraisal is when the licensed and trained appraiser determines the market value of a property based upon statistics and comparatives of other similar properties that have sold. Not those on the market or ones who have just been constructed. The market value is determined by comparison, not one's simple opinion of value.AND, if Lawrence had not given all the tax abatements to new businesses to get them to come to Lawrence, these businesses would be assisting the homeowners in paying for needed services like fire and police, etc. But our wise leaders gave them abatements for a fixed period of time and when that time is over, they will search out another location in another city, ask for abatements to move there and then they are gone from Lawrence. We need a better way to attract commercial businesses.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 7 months ago

Meet Lawrence,Kansas:Donovan Scruggs, Ocean Springs director of community development and planning, said the city's current budget. crunch can be tied directly to infrastructure expenses needed to serve new housing developments."If residential growth paid for itself and was financially positive, we would not be in a budget crunch," Scruggs said. "But with increased numbers of houses you have increased demand on services, and historically the funding of revenues generated by residential housing does not pay for the services, they require from a municipality."Scruggs said there have been two studies done on impact fees. One 100-page study was on services for police and fire protection, administration and parks. A second study was done on infrastructure related impacts on roads, water and water.The current proposal calls for the fees to be collected separately."We want. to make sure we tie the fees as closely as possible to when the demand is being generated," Scruggs said. "Water and sewer fees would be collected when the subdivision is constructed. Services more related to occupancy and homes being constructed would be collected later. For example, no one will have a need for a park until there are kids in that neighborhood."While developers pay for onsite water, sewer and road infrastructure, Scruggs said it is costly to pay for offsite upgrades needed, such as enlarging lift stations and raising water towers."Now if we have to upgrade a lift station, it is paid for by the general fund revenue paid by each taxpayer in the city," Scruggs said. "Someone on the west side of town would have to pay for subsidizing the growth in demand caused by the development in the east part of town."The eastern part of town is where the greatest residential growth is being seen. Scruggs said there has been so much growth in recent years that the city has to elevate its water towers to keep pressure at adequate levels. "That was a direct result caused by the growth," he said."Scruggs said that impact fees are legal if they are done properly.Ocean Springs had 120 homes constructed in 2000, 90 in 2001 and is on track to have 120 homes constructed in 2002. If impact fees had been collected on the 310 homes built in three years, the city would have extra revenues of about $2.1 million.In order for the city to have orderly growth, developers need to be responsible for a certain amount of the infrastructure. Most builders understand impact fees are for a purpose that improves their development."================Considering the number of homes built in Lawrence and Douglas County in the last 20 years who knows impact fees might be generating tax rebates and keeping property value increases at 3%-4%. OR at the very least might have covered the cost of The T, new wider sidewalks in older neighborhoods, street rehab and the eastside bike and hike trail. Instead our user fees are seeing dramatic increases.

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