Property taxes on the rise

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By Zach Manges

Homeowners are facing radical increases in property taxes as a result of reassigned classifications for residential and agricultural acreage by the Boone County assessor’s office.

“This is an area where the housing market has been pretty much flat for years,” said resident Greg Allen, who asserted the assessment of his property’s value was wildly inaccurate.  “I was told that the only way I was going to get them lowered was if I could prove the difference.”

Stating that his improvements taxes had doubled, Allen was only able to decrease his rates back to a level comparable to the previous payment after presenting an appraisal of the land from two years ago.  His neighbors received the same deal, but only upon personally providing similar documentation of their own.

Zionsville resident Pam Faerber and her husband own well over a dozen acres in addition to the plot their house is located on, many of which are wooded or used for storm drainage, that were relabeled by the Boone County assessor’s office as excess residential land, dramatically raising the cost.

“That evaluation got my attention loud and clear.  I got my hands on everything I could about it,” Faerber said.  “We realized this is what’s happened in Castleton, Fishers, and Carmel as well.”

Papa

Papa

In order to begin addressing the issue as a community, Faerber held a meeting in her home for other residents in the area who were facing fiscal hikes.  The sixty-five attending homeowners reached a decision to seek increased clarity and structure in the laws regarding the power of the assessor’s office.

“I think we need to understand, if property’s been assessed historically a certain way, why it would rise unless the homeowner had made drastic changes,” Zionsville town council president Jeff Papa, who was present at the meeting, said.

“We feel very strongly that when land is purchased as agriculturally taxed land it should stay at that level, unless it’s been developed,” Faerber said.  “The bottom line is that the law doesn’t seem to be clear.  It’s just not equitable.”


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