Some Black Hawk Co. homeowners see valuations drop big - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Some Black Hawk Co. homeowners see valuations drop big


This week, many home and property owners in Black Hawk County are receiving their annual property valuations.  Nearly 30% of owners have actually seen a drop in what their homes are worth. 

The Black Hawk County Assessor says put simply, valuations are based on home sales.  In some areas, sales just are not supporting higher assessed values for properties.  Both homeowners and the county's budget could feel the effects of some of the more significant valuation changes.

Marilyn Fairchild has lived in her Hudson home for more than a decade.  Most years, the value of her home has held or increased.  But this year, the valuation she received was quite different.

"I was a little surprised because the land itself went up, that the house is sitting on, but the house itself went down this year, well probably about $50,000," Fairchild said.

Fairchild isn't alone.  Of the 56,000 properties valued in Black Hawk County, around 16,000 saw a drop this year in how much they're worth.  In part, it's because the Department of Revenue issued a new manual with a "cost approach" to valuations.  Black Hawk County did a complete revaluation of all properties this year.

"Really it's the same across the board.  We analyze the sales market, and that's really how we do it.  So if you've gone up or you've gone down, it's because the market is indicating that's what should happen to your assessed value.  And we do have to be 100% market value," said Black Hawk County Assessor Tami McFarland.

The good news is on average, homes in Black Hawk County have increased by around five percent, allowing the county to rake in more tax dollars.  But when that's coupled with some of the property value declines, it could put a pinch on the county's budget.  In preparation, the board of supervisors is already planning to hold its budget workshop in August, about three months earlier than usual.

"We'll have to make adjustments within and that's really what the meeting is set up for in August, to let the departments know that hey, you may have to be looking at how you can do business different, or how can we consolidate some of our departments and work together on this," said Tom Little, chair of the Black Hawk County Board of Supervisors.

For now it's a waiting game.  Property owners have a chance to appeal their valuations in the coming days.  Final valuations will be set in October.

If you feel your property's valuation is not accurate, you can appeal it with your county assessor's office.  Protests will be accepted April 16-May 5.  The review board has to make the final adjustments to property valuations by July 1.

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