Property revaluations upset some BALTIMORE COUNTY

January 19, 1993|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,Staff Writer

William and Carol Roughton know new property ta assessments in Baltimore County will rise an average of only 0.5 percent this year and drop on many homes.

That's why they're upset.

The assessment on their two-story brick home is scheduled to increase 9 percent each year for the next three years. Even though state assessors made a slight deduction for an error, that means the full market value of their home will go from $177,000 in 1992 to about $217,000 in 1995. Three years ago, the house on the south side of the 600 block of Stevenson Lane had an assessed market value of $127,560, said Mr. Roughton.

"I really don't understand the growth in the value of the house," Mr. Roughton said. "I can't help but feel there's some kind of shoving of these values up," he said.

Appeals of new assessments can be filed until Feb. 11.

State assessment officials have said this year's figures finally show the effect two years of recession have had on real estate values. Of 615,000 assessment notices mailed statewide, nearly 40 percent showed either no change or decreased to below 1989 values. Overall, the statewide average showed a 0.6 percent assessment increase, the lowest rate in more than 20 years.

Mr. Roughton's neighbors, Tim and Fran Cashman, also aren't thrilled with their new assessment. The market value of their home, located on the same block of Stevenson Lane, is scheduled to go from $169,420 in 1992 to $202,750 by December 1995, a 19 percent increase.

A third neighbor on the same block, Betty Szeliga, had a different attitude, however. Although her assessment also is slated to rise above the average, Mrs. Szeliga said she has no complaint.

"All my friends and family live in the city" and pay much more in property tax, she said.

Robert L. Dowling, state assessment supervisor for Baltimore County, said homes on Stevenson Lane's south side were considered part of Stoneleigh, where assessments and sale prices are higher. The Roughtons and Cashmans insist their homes are in Wiltondale, where values are a bit more modest. They argue that neighborhood home values have been stagnant and that homes have not been selling well. Mr. Cashman said his home was appraised at $159,000 last year for refinancing.

In Baltimore County, annual property tax increases are limited by the local four percent cap on assessments. Tax bills won't be mailed until July. The final tax bill can be affected if the county executive proposes to raise or lower the county's tax rate, now set at $2.865 per $100 of assessed value. Assessed value represents about 40 percent of market value.

A note about the local cap is printed on the bottom of each assessment notice. The state has a 10 percent cap on assessment increases. Various jurisdictions, including Baltimore County, have adopted lower local caps.

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