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Mewes Explains Assessment Changes For Washington County Properties

Change of Assessment Notices are being mailed out today, by the Washington County Supervisor of Assessments Office, and the notices are also published in this week’s edition of the Okawville Times and Nashville News.

According to Supervisor of Assessments Sharon Mewes, the notices are mailed to owners whose property value has been reassessed, resulting in an increase or decrease in value.

“This year my office is mailing 4,335 change notices” stated Mewes.

Mewes noted that many properties in the county are seeing an increase in their assessments this year, largely due to the unusually high property sales prices that have been seen in the past couple of years.

She explained that the county’s property assessment levels are required by state law to be at 33.3% of the market value and because the sale prices have been so high, the market value is much higher than what it was when the current assessment was made, meaning that the county’s assessment levels are well below the required 33.3%.

“Property prices have been out-of-sight, and they continue to be,” said Mewes.  We had one property sale that closed in Okawville in 2021’. …It originally sold in 2017 for $53,500, and four years later it sold for $104,000.  That’s a 193% increase.  In Irvington a home sold for $35,000 in 2018 and sold in 2021 for $59,900, that’s a 70% increase, In Ashley a home sold for $59,000 in 2017 and in 2021 for $85,500, that’s a 45% increase.

And that’s just 3 examples, she noted.  The sale prices have been high across the board.

“What’s happening is, our assessment level is supposed to be at 33.3%, and it is so far out of whack because of all of these crazy sale prices.  …I didn’t have a choice.  I had to put an equalization factor onto the assessments for this year,” said Mewes.  “And they’re saying these sale prices are going to continue into the next year, so I have to catch up or the State’s going to come in and really hit us.”

Based on the sale prices that have occurred, Mewes has applied an equalization factor of 1.07 to assessments for eligible properties in every township.  This amounts to a 7 % increase in the assessment level for those properties.

With the equalization factors that have been applied, Mewes noted that the assessment levels of the county’s townships should now be in compliance with the state laws.

“In the future, if property values start going back down, we’ll do the opposite and we will reduce everybody’s assessment,” she said.

While assessments are going up, Mewes stressed that this does not necessarily mean the property taxes will go up, as well.

“This is an increase in your property value, not an increase in property taxes,” she explained.  “If taxing bodies do not increase their budgets when property assessment increase, the result is tax rates go down and there is little if any change to an individual tax bill.  This is what happened in 2020, as property owners experienced minimal changes to their property taxes paid this year.  The same will be true for the tax bills you receive this year, unless there is an increase in the budget of taxing bodies.

As property owners receive the Change of Assessment Notices, Mewes explained that they will have an opportunity to dispute their assessments.  Before doing so, however, she encourages everyone to closely look at their notices when they are received.

“For anyone receiving a change notice, before filing a complaint I encourage you to look on the notice directly under the ‘Reason(s) for Change’ box at the top of the page, where it will show your “2021 Fair Market Value,”’ said Mewes.  “Ask yourself if you believe this is a reasonable estimate of what you would consider to be a fair price if you were to sell your property.”

Any property owner that wishes to come before the Board of Review for the purpose of contesting the valuation of their property may pick up a complaint form at the Supervisor of Assessments Office in the Washington County Courthouse, located at 101 E. St. Louis St., in Nashville.

“Any property owners, regardless of whether they received a change notice or not, can file a complaint,” Mewes noted.  “Complaint forms must be received in the Supervisor of Assessment Office during the period of March 23, 2022 through April 25, 2022 in order to be considered by the Board of Review.  Any complaint received after April 25, 2022 will not be accepted.”   For answers to any questions concerning this process, call 618-327-4800 X 325 or visit the Supervisor of Assessment Office.

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