By John Paul
7:47 PM EDT, April 11, 2012
SOUTH BEND – If the assessed value on your property tax bill increased and you're not happy about it, you can file an appeal at the St. Joseph County Assessor's Office – but the process could take a while.
Rick Pritzell filed an appeal when he learned the assessed value of his late mother's property jumped from $112,000 to $135,000 in just a year
"That's ridiculous," said Pritzell. "That's what the realtor told me."
Pritzel went to the assessor's office for an answes, but getting an answer could take a while.
Things in the assessor's office have piled up.
St. Joseph County Assessor Rosemary Mandrici said her office has made progress, but there was a two-year backlog in the number of appeals filed.
Those claims have been settled, but for 2010's tax bill, taxpayers filed 3,183 appeals about their home's assessed value.
The office still has 1,311 appeals remaining.
Mandrici said there was a backlog dating back a few years before she took office.
"That's part of the process, so I was not surprised," said Mandrici. "We did have quite a bit of work to do."
The process, itself sounds simple enough. But it's pretty complicated. After the office sends notice that your assessed value will change, you have two choices – agree with the change or appeal within 45 days.
If you appeal, the Assessor's office will review it.
The office could change your value. Or, if officials disagree, your case is sent to a hearing with the Property Tax Board of Appeals who will make a decision.
Matters could make their way all the way to the Indiana Supreme Court.
Mandrici expects the same problem – with a bigger effect – next year because of the state-required general assessment.
The office will look at more than 120,000 properties in St. Joseph County.
That could lead to more appeals and a bigger backlog, and that's on top of the 40,000 assessment letters that have gone out already this year.
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