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Assessor's town hall to outline appeal process for property taxpayers

A for sale sign is displayed in front of a house in Westwood, Mass. Home prices hit a new record in October as the number of homes for sale hit an all-time low.
Steven Senne
St. Joseph County's property tax assessments increased dramatically last year for some people. Taxpayers have until May 15 to file appeals.

St. Joseph County property taxpayers who were alarmed by big increases in their assessments last year, even though they made no improvements to their property, can learn about the appeal process at a town hall meeting next week.

County Assessor Mike Castellon will host the meeting on Thursday, June 8, at 6 p.m. in the County-City Building’s 4th Floor Council Chambers. That’s a week before the June 15 deadline for filing appeals.

Castellon says two main factors drove those assessment increases:

First and foremost, higher sales prices of nearby homes in the red-hot seller’s market over the past few years have boosted the values of comparable homes. The second factor was a land value study, mandated by the state every ten years, that was done last year under prior assessor Rosemary Mandrici.

Castellon notes that people appealing simply because they didn’t change their properties won’t likely win their appeals. They’ll need to show that their assessor made errors on their particular property.

“Give me some information that I may not get through the normal assessment process that could help in determining a value,” Castellon said. “See, the appeal process allows me to look at your property on an individual basis versus that mass appraisal technique.”

Parrott, a longtime public radio fan, comes to WVPE with about 25 years of journalism experience at newspapers in Indiana and Michigan, including 13 years at The South Bend Tribune. He and Kristi live in Granger and have two children currently attending Indiana University in Bloomington. In his free time he enjoys fixing up their home, following his favorite college and professional sports teams, and watching TV (yes that's an acceptable hobby).