Millstone tax appeal heard

PARKERSBURG – Local appraiser Randy Reed asked the appraised value on Millstone subdivision be lowered.

Meeting with the Wood County Commission, sitting as the Board of Equalization and Review on Thursday, Reed appeared on behalf of the Vienna 45-parcel subdivision developer Jim Weigle.

“The assessor’s office has dropped the value from $700,000 to $569,500. But the last time I did the appraisal, I based my taxes, in my discounted flow model, on what they had increased it too, the expenses were too high. This time, I did another discounted flow on the new rate. It really didn’t make that much difference. He sold no lots last year. It’s a very, very slow residential market right now,” Reed told the commissioners.

Taxes on the appraised market value of $569,500 are $4,949.

Reed provided copies of his appraisal.

“When you don’t sell the property off within a year, it’s necessary to do a discounting process, for how many years you think it’s going to take. I don’t have a crystal ball, but I’m projecting the economy won’t turn around until year five. In eight years, he’s only sold two lots,” Reed said.

Last year the assessor’s office had an average value on the lots of $20,000 each, this year it’s $13,000.

Reed said the value on the subdivision should be $317,000, by his appraisal.

Reed said he had 32 years of experience in the appraisal business.

“It’s going to be 11 years to sell out that property. The money he put into the roads, utilities, he’s never going to recover that,” Reed said. “While I’m happy they came down to $500,000, I still think with the discount and absorption period figured in, my value should be used.”

The appraiser said Weigle purchased the property off Rosemar Road where the subdivision was developed for $30,000 back in 1994.

“There are many of these lots that the assessor dropped the values $2,000 a lot, it just goes to show you these lots may not be buildable,” Reed said.

Andy Hartleben, appraiser for the assessor’s office, said after an appeal was filed last year on behalf of Millstone, the county commission lowered the value to $700,000.

“We lowered it even further after it was adjusted for discounted cash flow,” Hartleben said. “This is the lowest value on this property since 2006, which is the year the subdivision was first developed.”

Hartleben said the office had not been asked to do the discounted cash flow analysis on other property and hadn’t done so on any other subdivision.

“It’s not required. We are trying to work with Mr. Weigle. We recognize it is a stalled subdivision,” Hartleben said.

In 2011, the appraised value on the housing development was set at $911,932. At the time, the assessor’s office personnel said, in part, the increase was based on recent sale of two lots in the housing development for more than $80,000 each.

The lowering of the property value last year by the board to $700,000 was done on a 2-1 vote with Commissioner Blair Couch voting no. Board changes to property values are only in effect for one year.