Our Madison Home Assessment Jumped 49.53%—City Dropped Ball For Years
One might think the headline to this post is a typo. It is not.
At a time when the recent assessments in Madison indicated home values fell an average of 1.6 percent across the city how did our home increase by almost 50%? I grant you increased values are better than the alternative, but still how does this happen?
Over the years since we moved in there have been restoration projects, and refurbishing of this and that. We both think our home looks rather swell. But there was nothing that we did over time to account for such an increase in the perceived value of our home.
Even the assessor’s office agreed with that point.
So when we talked with the appraiser on Monday in his office, the one who did a walk through of our home last fall, it was obvious that he was pleased to know we were not angry or loud or demanding anything. In fact, to be honest, he seemed amused that we were there to better understand the process.
My dad, Royce, sat for a time on the Board of Review when serving for 40 years for the Town of Hancock, and there was no way not to not think of the stories he told about the angry ones he encountered. I think that was one reason I wanted to treat this middle-aged appraiser in the office with more than ample calm.
Still the question loomed that needed a response.
How does a home get an increased assessment of nearly 50% in one year? The man looking back at us from his side of the desk had a slight smile.
Well, that is where the City of Madison comes into the equation. (You think?)
It seems that no walk-through of our home had taken place since roughly 1985, and therefore only administrative assessments were made over the years. While other homes such as ours were being sold and changing hands in the area, and increasing in value somehow our home never registered a need to be dealt with. While I could not get a firmer answer on how that happened other than being told “I have 11,000 properties to deal with” I moved on to other matters.
I posed a devil’s advocate question about how this property could have been adding to the tax base over the past many years thereby assisting with needed programs, but had not done so due to the low assessment. The kindly face across the desk listened and registered what I had to say but did not really have much of a response.
Clearly over time someone at the city had dropped the ball and not taxed this home at the proper rate.
While James and I have no qualms about paying our share of taxes, and well understand the need to do so for society, I do question how the process works where a home can be so undervalued for so long, and then adjusted upwards so quickly.
As we prepared to leave the office I asked, for the sake of the stories I would tell over the coming days to friends, if there was a way to let me know what percentage of homes were assessed at more than 40%, or even near 50% this year. Clearly a most small number to be sure, but might such a figure be given to me down the road?
I was informed that would not be possible as the computers seem not to calculate such pieces of information.
One would think that given a 50% assessment rate they could have at least thrown in a free piece of trivia to banter about with friends.
All this is making for more of an interesting story than any sense of angst for James and myself.
If only all the faces my Dad had to deal with at the Board of Review over the years could have felt the same.
BTW…Dad would have loved hearing about this story!