To: Stuart Adams, Deidre Henderson, Scott Jenkins, Gene Davis, Howard Stephenson, John Valentine, curt,
Subject: RE: Market Values and Evaluations
Date: Fri Sep 12 22:51:48 MDT 2014
Below is the response I received from the Weber County Assessor John Ulibarri. Please contact me if you have any questions or need further clarification on the matter.
Kerry W. Gibson
Weber County Commissioner
2380 Washington Blvd. Suite 360
Ogden, UT 84401
Commissioner Gibson, thank you for the opportunity to discuss the various issues outlined below in Mr. Wakefield’s correspondence. Mr. Wakefield’s questions and concerns are not uncommon. However, there are some points that require clarification.
First, while the property in question did increase in assessed value over the prior year, it was certainly not a 35% increase. The total value increase was closer to 13%. The percent increase Mr. Wakefield refers to was to the building total. Mr. Wakefield often attempts to separate the land value and improvement values for sake of comparison. However, in Utah we view the land and buildings as one economic unit as almost all properties are purchased and sold that way. Rarely do residential properties sell only the land or building component while retaining the other.
The second concern is the property in question valued proportionally to its market value? As you already know, Utah is a market value state, meaning that assessed value should be very close to what a property would sell for in the open market. Because of Mr. Wakefield’s concerns regarding the assessed value increase, I tasked a staff member to complete an appraisal of the subject property. The appraiser’s estimate of value is actually slightly higher than the assessed value for the property. Consequently, an adjustment is not required here.
The third concern is equity. We performed another analysis of the subject property, comparing it to a universe of 191 properties, and then compared it to a smaller group of properties that are as similar as possible. A dollar per square foot of gross living area (GLA) was used as a unit of comparison. In the larger analysis, the subject property ranked forty first lowest out of 191. In the analysis of similar properties, the subject property ranked eighth lowest of the twenty one properties analyzed.
After careful analysis, we have concluded that the subject property is valued correctly in proportion to its market value. We also concluded that the subject property is valued equitably. I would be happy to sit down with you, the other commissioners, and/or any of the legislators to discuss our methodology in general and the specific analysis performed on this property. I look forward to your call.
John Ulibarri AAS, RES
Weber County Assessor
Phone (801) 399-8573
Thank you for making me aware of this issue. I have copied John Ulibarri, our Weber County Assessor on the thread as well. He assures me that there is much more to the story, and will respond with details. Thanks for your service.
Let’s give Weber County a chance to explain. I am forwarding your email to the Weber County Commissioners for their review and comment.
Sen. Stuart Adams
Utah State Senate District 22
From: Lance Wakefield [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Thursday, September 04, 2014 7:13 PM
To: Deidre Henderson; Stuart Adams; Scott Jenkins
Cc: Gene Davis; Howard Stephenson; John Valentine; firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Market Values and Evaluations
Senator Deidre Henderson, Senator J. Stuart Adams and Senator Scott Jenkins;
I understand you are all members of the Revenue and Taxation Committee. The reason I am sending you this request or plea is because Senator Henderson, you are the chair of this committee. Senator Adams you are my senator because I live in Layton; but my family and I have property in Huntsville a town in Weber County. Senator Jenkins you are a senator from Weber County and that is where the problem resides. Another reason I am writing you is because I first addressed this problem to Senator Wayne Niederhauser because he helped me back in 2009, when he was chair of this same committee. He helped me with almost the same problem with the Weber County's market value(MV) evaluation inconsistencies. He said he passed this on to the new chair of this committee, which of course is you Senator Henderson. Back in 2009 Senator Niederhauser and myself paid a visit to the Weber County Assessor, who at that time was Cheryl Madson. We spoke to them about several problems I had pointed out to Senator Niederhauser about the MV's they were coming up with in Huntsville. I had put a spreadsheet together which contained all of the properties in Huntsville with all the pertinent information regarding the market value of homes, other buildings and land. They couldn't dispute any of it because it was data from their own tax database. Senator Niederhauser commented as we were leaving I think that should fix the problems because county assessors don't like getting visits from me. The next year they had corrected almost all of the problems we had pointed out .Things went okay for a few years and then they began to deteriorate again. Then when I looked at our 2013 taxes, I was actually alarmed. Our home which was built in 1868 went from $59,268 to $93,840 an increase of over 58%. The only updates it ever had was to put indoor plumbing in and add central heat to the main floor. There was also an old building we bought for $150, from Hill Air Base when they were going to tear it down and an old rickety granary, which is standing only for a heritage purpose, went from $0 to $21,606 and $0 to $1,391 respectively.
It was time to update my spreadsheet and this is what I found in Weber County's 2013 market value assessments: the 149 homes built in 1863 and before 1940 had on the average MVs higher than the 502 homes built in 1960 -1989. (See Attachment 1 which shows this clearly) (Attachment 2 is the spreadsheet which provided attachment 1 with that information. I appealed our case to the Weber County Board of Adjustments in 2013. Weber County did make some concessions on our market value assessments, but what about all of those other people who live in Huntsville or even Weber County. Most people don't have the resources like I have to point out and show how unfair and completely unrealistic Weber County assessment of homes and other buildings really are. I can't appeal for all those people even though I have the data to show how they are being assessed with market values which are clearly not even close to being actual real property values in most cases..
The only way I can help the property owners in Huntsville and all of Weber County is once again get my data, which is taken from Weber County's own database, to someone who cares and can make a difference. That person was Senator Niederhauser because 5 years ago he showed me he did care and did something about it. Senator Henderson, Senator Adams and Senator Jenkins you are my go to guys now because Senator Niederhauser said you do care about seeing things are done fairly in our Utah county governments.
I mentioned above we did appeal our 2013 MV assessments and with the data I presented they did change our MV evaluations.
In 2014 our MV assessments of the buildings on our property increased again this time by 35%. If they agreed six months before that our MVs were correct then why are they raising them by 35%? I don't think market values are that volatile that they jump that much overnight. Weber County Assessor's office decided last year that they were putting too much information out on their Weber County tax database because I was able to use that data to show that their market value evaluations were nowhere consistent and very unfair.
Here is what they did to make it impossible to do home to home and building to building comparisons: they lumped all residential buildings such as; homes, unattached garages and other buildings into one MV and the same for all agriculture buildings. They knew by doing this it would make it almost impossible to do any comparisons between homes or any other buildings because you don't have individual MVs of each building. In Weber County's Appeal Request form they state to find similar property or buildings to compare your assessments against. Weber County has taken that option away from the tax payers of Weber County with this contrived tactic derived to do just that. I sent them several emails asking them to reconsider and return to doing what they had done in previous years, giving each individual buildings MV. They said that their property taxes are determined by land MV and the improvements to that land which includes buildings. They said it is the total of those MVs which determines your property tax. I agreed that is right but each item whether it be land or a building has to have a MV which then is added up to determine the total MV. Weber County does have that information or it couldn't come up with a total. I am a Weber County tax payer and when I get my property tax bill I expect to see what I am paying property tax on, which is each individual item whether it be land, home or any other item they are taxing me for with its estimated market value.
Weber County Assessor's office never answered my last email requesting again that they reinstate market values of each item being taxed. I take that as No reply indicating they are not going to put individual MVs of buildings and homes back into their online property tax database.
My question is it legal for Weber County to tax you for something they will not give you an estimated market value? I know it isn't ethical but is there anything we can do about it?
Questions that need to be answered:
1) In Weber Count's 2013 market value of homes they determined the average MV of homes built before 1940 to have MVs which are higher than homes built 20 to 100 years later in the 60s 70s and 80s. The question is: How is Weber County assessors doing market value evaluations which tells them the public would pay more for a older home than a much newer one?
2) When Weber County sends out property tax notices don't they have to tell you what you are paying property taxes on? That is listing all land, homes, and all other buildings market values; so each Weber County property tax payer can see how their total market value of their property was calculated.
I sent a follow up letter to Senator Niederhauser which is (Attachment 3)
Senator Henderson, I am sending a copy of this email to the other senators who serve with you on the REVENUE and TAXATION INTERIM Committe.
A Weber County Tax Payer
ps If you would like I could send you the entire spreadsheet and any other data if you would like to see.