Reappraisals are being checked

DICKINSON - Stark County Tax Equalization Director Diane Brines said the county's property reappraisal Web site is a work in progress. The latest update of the site was made Friday, Feb. 22, as needed adjustments have come to her attention.

DICKINSON - Stark County Tax Equalization Director Diane Brines said the county's property reappraisal Web site is a work in progress. The latest update of the site was made Friday, Feb. 22, as needed adjustments have come to her attention.

"I know people are interested in seeing what increases and decreases," Brines said. "No one likes property taxes raised, but that's not the whole thing. It's just (about being) fair and equitable through the whole county. So some are paying more now than others and in the long run will be happier."

The reappraisal is a very big adjustment, but now it will be better to manage and more efficient, she added.

Brines is working with Vanguard Appraisals Incorporated, which was hired by the county to complete reappraisals of all county property existing outside the formal boundaries of any cities. For now, the company's technology department is working on the Web site the public can use to view all the reappraisals.

Brines said Valley City had the same company do its reappraisal in 2005. She has the information from that in her office available for public viewing.


"There have been many, many changes right now on our working files and the Vanguard group was here and made many changes," Brines said of Stark County's reappraisal process. "We've received phone calls and people have come into the office about errors, but the Web site is a working file. I'm not sure when it will be updated again."

Brines is not sure if the Web site was a good thing so soon in the process.

"We could have put it out there and maybe not have put the values on until we were ready, but we wanted to give property owners the chance to view things," Brines said. "Nothing is certified until we go to the county board June 3 and again in August."

A working example

One reappraisal that was recently rectified was with Stark County Commissioner George Nodland's residence.

The main concern with Nodland's five-year-old home was the total value shown on the Web site was changed within a few days time.

Checking the site on Sunday, Feb. 3 the total value was shown to be $220,800, but after changes and updates were made the value had jumped to $235,000 three days later.

"What happened was on Dec. 18, 2007, when Mr. Bob Kosher was here from Vanguard Appraisals he was doing a presentation just for myself and the commissioners. I think Russ (Hoff), George (Nodland), Natalie (Wandler) and our tech person were present," Brines said. "We used George's house as an example because he lives in the county to go through the process and show how it looks."


As the group went through the property card which states all the information associated with a residence reappraisal, it said there was a basement under the garage, she added.

"That was because of the way the blueprints were on our cards from what we had received when George built the house. It looked like there was a basement under the garage and of course there wasn't (one)," Brines said. "At that time Bob Kosher took the basement off, but he didn't make a note of that for me. He just removed it."

After removing the price of a basement under a garage from Nodland's reappraisal, the total value of his residence came down from $235,000 to $220,800, she added.

"But we then did an update after our appraisers were here in February," Brines said. "We did some name changes, which is done when a deed comes through and we update the name of the file so it has the most current ones. Most people pull up something on the Web site using names."

When the names were updated, it used the original December certified amount for Nodland's residence value, $235,000, with the basement under the garage. This total appeared on the Web site with the name update, making it look like Nodland's total value had changed greatly in three days.

"When it was brought to our attention last Friday we saw the mistake and now it's at the right number at $220,800," Brines said.

Different values

The second concern with Nodland's residence was the dwelling value.


Constructed in 2002, the residence has been added onto since then, but its current dwelling value of $195,300 is down from $211,700 in 2007. The decrease is shown despite the addition of a gazebo done in 2007 and a steel utility building done in 2006.

Yet the total value of the residence increased from last year to this year.

The total value in 2007 was $216,900 which is $3,900 lower than the current reappraised value of $220,800.

Brines said the dwelling value is related to the land value which increased for Nodland.

His land value grew greatly from last year to this year.

In 2007, his land value was $5,200 and in 2008 it increased to $25,500.

"When they set up our pricing tables, they looked at sales and did a ratio of land values versus dwelling values on the sales in the areas. That's where the dwelling figure comes from," Brines said. "I might have had the dwelling a little bit higher than it should have been (for Nodland) and then the land value increased."

The land value plus the dwelling value is what creates the total value.


Brines added Nodland was good about obtaining a building permit for his residence. Building permits are often hard to come by for Brines, who doesn't know what's all being updated without a permit submitted.

"With the drop, maybe I was too high on his dwelling," she added. "Maybe I was a little more critical of his just for the fact he is a commissioner and is out there. Maybe that's why his (dwelling value) was a little high to start out with last year."

Brines said it's well known at this point everything north of town is selling hot and will see what happens from there with the vacant lot sales.

Brines also said she is more familiar with Nodland's house, compared to other newer homes.

In her own mind, Brines sees Glen Kostelecky's residence as comparable to Nodland's, even though there are some differences.

The similarity she draws between the residences is the dwelling values of the homes, which are quite close. Kostelecky's dwelling value is $199,100, while Nodland's is $195,300, a small difference of $200.

The differences between the two include different locations and land values. Kostelecky lives in the Maryville sub-division west of town, and because of that, his land value is different from Nodland's.

Another difference is Kostelecky's residence was constructed in 2006 and has a residential exemption, while Nodland's does not.


The Kostelecky residence is not only newer and bigger, but it also has a new detached garage. Comparatively, Nodland's home is slightly larger than Kostelecky's home.

"They'll both be paying their fair share. George has probably been paying more than his fair share," Brines said. "George's was closer to the true and full value than the majority of them. Most of my new construction was closer to the true and full value."

The reason for the reappraisal now is to get everyone at the true and full market value, she added.

Continued work

In January, 2,084 reappraisal letters were mailed to residential and commercial property owners.

Brines won't be sending out any new notices for a while because she wants to do them all together to be most efficient.

"Otherwise, it's hard to regenerate things on the computer; it isn't set up to do that," Brines said. "I'd have to type them up by hand. That's why I haven't sent out the notices again."

Brines is "to the nitty-gritty" she said with the reappraisals. Most of what she has left are homes with exemptions or further building permits to review.


May is her busy month to work on all files.

As the work progresses Brines is open to public input on individual reappraisals or about the Web site.

Since it can be difficult at times to search a person's whole name on the site, Brines suggests using the last name and going through the list that comes up.

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