Assessors reduce toll 10% in wealthiest city areas Reductions are said to reflect depressed real estate market.

February 11, 1992|By Thomas W. Waldron and Timothy J. Mullaney

About 8,800 homeowners in some of Baltimore's most affluent neighborhoods have had their property assessments reduced an average of 10 percent to reflect the depressed real estate market.

State assessors made the unusual reductions after finding that the 1991 assessments were substantially higher than the values of homes sold in the last months of the year.

The new assessments, to be mailed out tomorrow, will affect many properties in the city's northern and northwestern neighborhoods, including Guilford, Homeland, Roland Park, Cheswolde and Mount Washington. The original assessments were mailed in late December.

Meanwhile, assessment officials say they're getting an unusually large number of appeals from commercial property owners, too. Those owners likewise complain that the recession has lowered the value of their holdings.

Roy R. Sleeman, the city supervisor for the state Department of Assessment and Taxation, says residential assessments were scaled back in the wealthier areas, rather than working-class neighborhoods, because the values of more expensive homes have been hit harder by the recession.

Mr. Sleeman says Mount Washington and the upper Charles Street corridor were particularly hard hit.

The state is not rolling back assessments in any other large areas of the state that were reassessed last year. Each year the department assesses a third of Maryland's properties. Assessment officials say they decided on the reductions after reviewing home sales in Baltimore for the last few months of the year.

The state reassessed roughly 62,600 residential, owner-occupied properties in Baltimore last year. About 14 percent, 8,803 homes, will receive the lower assessments.

Citywide, last year's assessments were up 11.8 percent.

On average, homeowners in the affected areas will see their full assessment reduced by 10 percent.

But some reductions will be much greater. Many condominiums in the Village of Cross Keys, for example, will be reduced 25 percent. The Carrollton condominium project will be reduced 30 percent.

The assessment rollback will cost the city roughly $600,000 in lost property tax income, according to state figures.

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