Due to re-measurements, new state mandated cost tables and updated records, many Zionsville residents may have seen an increase in their home assessments, which were mailed by the Boone County Assessor last week.
The assessment, titled “Form 11,” explains what figures property taxes are based on. The form includes information from the 2011 assessment, and for this year’s assessment on which 2013 taxes will be based, Assessor Lisa Garoffolo said.
“We just went through a two-year reassessment, and visited every parcel in the county,” Garoffolo said. “This is the first time in 11 years we visited every property.”
In some cases, buildings, decks, barns and other structures not included on a tax record previously were found and included on the new Form 11, she said. That might cause a tax bill to increase. Or, a building thought to exist may have been found to have been removed, which could lower the bill.
Garoffolo said another reason Zionsville property owners saw an increase in their assessment is because the assessor’s office had parameters for The Village 11 years ago that are different from current Village parameters set by the town.
“Some people got pulled into The Village when they weren’t considered in The Village before,” she said. “But if this is what Zionsville says is their village, then we are going to use what they consider as The Village.”
One example of the new state-mandated tables’ effect on homeowners is on rural properties, where the farm prices went up from $1,500 to $1,630 an acre as a base rate.
“It used to be that farmers didn’t have to get a building permit to get barns, but there are a lot of things we picked up on that we didn’t know of before,” she said.
Garoffolo said older houses also may have seen an increase in their assessment.
“Some older homes such as a 1930s home throughout the years has had several remodels and/or furnaces, windows, etc. replaced, which causes the home to be updated in effective years,” she said. “So that 1930s home may have an effective year of 1954 simply because they have had work done.”
Zionsville resident Beth Brewer says her assessment went up by $90,000.
“It’s outrageous,” she said. “I am really up in arms about this.”
Brewer says she is planning to appeal the assessment because she doesn’t think the assessment is correct.
If a property owner disputes the 2013 figure, they have 45 days from the date the Form 11 was mailed to file an appeal, Garoffolo said. Appeals will be heard by the county’s Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals, she said.
To file an appeal, a property owner is responsible for providing valid proof the reassessment figure is wrong, Garoffolo said. Assessed values are based on property sales in 2010, 2011 and the first two months of this year.
“The key word there is ‘valid,’” she said. That would exclude changes in value caused by a foreclosure, short sale or estate sale.
“We are more than happy to help people fill out their paperwork and do whatever we can do, because we just want their assessment to be correct,” she said.
How it began
The state recently changed the way properties were assessed and passed a rolling reassessment where 25 percent of each county in Indiana will be reassessed every year.
During an April Boone County Commissioners meeting, Garoffolo said during the examination she found hundreds of millions of dollars in property that has never been put on the property tax roll.
“Things here were really bad,” said Janice Wilson of Government Utility Technology Services during the commissioners April meeting. Wilson and Dan Spiker of Government Utilities Technology Service helped Garoffolo with the rolling reassessment.
Boone County Councilwoman said in April that the county is still collecting the same tax dollars and it is just a rearrangement of who is paying those dollars. The majority of Zionsville residents are at the 1 percent tax cap, but this rearrangement could spread the tax bills over more people who aren’t at the cap.
Call the assessor’s office between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at (765) 482-0140 for more information.
Rod Rose contributed to this story.