Ike aftermath may lower property values
Starting in November, Orange County’s appraisal district will begin to readjust property values that could result in tax decreases for some residents.
The survey will end in January, said the district’s Mike Cedars.
“We’re waiting a little while before we get out there,” Cedars said.
“Right now the streets are still being cleaned up, and our people out there would just be a hindrance. But we eventually will need information to tell us what’s going to be there Jan. 1 (the start of the taxable year). In February, we’ll send out notices to the taxpayers that will have an estimated value we placed on their property, with a questionnaire. They can send that back to us and we will reappraise their property based on that.”
Cedars said he didn’t forecast any “residual stigma” or lowering of values.
“I don’t see that happening because virtually the entire area was hit,” he said.
The new appraisals will be in a combination of percentages and individuals, he said.
“We will study other areas that have gone through something like this,” he said. “Our intent is to place a fair value on the properties.
Our office has many employees that lost a lot in the storm and we want to make sure that no one is over-appraised.”
The normal time period given where owners can discuss estimates with appraisal staff (30 days) will be extended to three months, he said.
“We want to give them plenty of opportunity to meet with us,” he said.
“We know they’ve got other things they’re dealing with right now and we want to give them as much help as possible. Even people in areas that weren’t damaged by the flood will have an opportunity to tell us about tree damage or other damage.”
Shortly after the Hurricane Ike system left the area, the district had the entire county “reflown” and remapped, using an aerial contractor, Cedars said. The technology used allows appraisers and surveyors to see all four walls of a house or building, he said.
“We’ve given that information to FEMA and given reprints to the cities in the county,” he said. “They can use that information to determine which properties had what kind of damage.”
For more information, call the district at 745-4777; or visit the office at 9157 E. Interstate 10.