Strange-But-True: Minneapolis Assessor Contests His Home's Valuation

Many people were upset with their home's assessed values last year. Even Minneapolis' tax assessor wasn't satisfied with his property tax statement.

Minneapolis City Assessor Patrick J. Todd maintains his northeast Minneapolis home was valued at far more than it was worth when he bought it. He appealing to the Minnesota Tax Court to contest the value of his home, which was set by the office he heads. You read that right.

"It's one of those properties where the owner never called [the assessor's office] to say the value was too high," he said.

That's an understatement. He bought the 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom home as investment property in July 2008 for $90,000. On January 1, 2008, the home had been assessed at $166,500 with a tax bill for payable 2009 of $2,239.

The reason behind the discrepancy is easy enough to explain. City assessors don't usually set foot on every property every year. Assessment is done through Computer-Assisted Mass Appraisal, which bases values on neighborhood and sales.

The 61-year-old rambler was built of concrete block and still had the original furnace, plumbing and electrical components. The 804-square-foot house had a single detached garage, no basement and no central air conditioning. This simple house with no real updates didn't fit the property model on which assessments are based. The home owner, having lived in the house since 1951, failed to alert the city that it was valued higher than it should have been.

Because of the sheer size of Minneapolis, it would be impossible to do a property by property assessment.

"We're trying to do the best job we can," Todd said. "If you don't agree with us, you've got to call us."

To read more about the case, check out the Star Tribune Article.

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