COEUR d'ALENE - Tuesday marked an unusual occurrence for Kootenai County, when the Idaho Board of Tax Appeals held a hearing where the county Assessor's Office appealed a property assessment.
That is, the Assessor's Office appealed a decision the county commissioners made this summer - when they convened as the Board of Equalization - to reduce a citizen's assessed property value.
The commissioners convene as the BOE every year to hear county citizens' appeals of their property value assessments.
This year, the Assessor's Office only appealed two of the BOE's decisions to the state. Not bad, considering the BOE deliberated on more than 100 property assessment appeals this summer.
"There could be several years in a row where (the Assessor's Office) doesn't file any appeals at all," said Assessor Mike McDowell. "The only time that we're really going to file an appeal is if we feel the decision by the Board of Equalization causes serious inequity in values."
At the hearing on Tuesday afternoon, the Assessor's Office challenged the BOE's decision to lower Marty Krupitsky's assessed property value for his Parkside Tower condo from $612,000 to $565,000.
Linda Pike, member of the Idaho Board of Tax Appeals, heard presentations from both the Assessor's Office and Krupitsky in a meeting room of the Ameritel Inn.
Donna Hoppe, county assessor, argued that the BOE had lowered the property assessment "without evidence" to justify doing so.
This is a case where that's particularly ill-advised, Hoppe said, as the lowered assessment alters the uniformity of assessments for the several properties within the same condo tower.
"When the BOE lowered the value, they really disrupted the uniformity of our whole project," Hoppe said. "We're required by law to be uniform."
The BOE's decision was erroneous, Hoppe said. The Assessor's Office had based Krupitsky's property value assessment on the sales of several similar condo units in Parkside Tower, she said.
The assessment was also based on the office's model that a condo unit's value depends on its height and view.
"As the building gets taller, the properties at the top of the tower are worth more and they sell more," Hoppe said, noting Krupitsky's 16th floor location.
Krupitsky said he wouldn't argue about the commissioners lowering his assessment without evidence.
"I will point out that they accepted my position, which was evidence," he said. "That's all the evidence you need, if they bought it."
Krupitsky contended that similar sales are not the only numbers that should determine an assessment value. The condo's initial price was not based on sales, he said.
He didn't dispute that the condo values should be uniform.
"You need to go back and re-evaluate the entire building," Krupitsky said.
Pike said the board of tax appeals will make a decision on the case by May 1 of next year.