After a massive number of Minneapolis homeowners appealed their property valuations last month, assessors are now working through the list and determining how many the city got wrong.
So far, the city has come to agreements with more than 200 of the 1,399 property owners who have appealed, according to data presented by the city Tuesday. Another 55 canceled their appeals and 101 filed after the deadline, and the city passed them on to the Hennepin County appeals board for consideration. The more than 1,000 that remain have been referred back to city staff and are still in process.
On Tuesday, the city's Local Board of Appeal and Equalization had only one hearing on the docket. Jesse Spitzack said the city has been unfairly raising the market value on his Northeast duplex in comparison to other properties in the neighborhood. Spitzack left visibly frustrated after the board said it couldn't act because Spitzack had declined to let the city assessor inside his property.
The city assesses a property using a formula based on sales and other data. Assessors also perform site inspections of a portion of properties, and must see every one at least every five years, said Rebecca Malmquist, the city's director of assessments.
When a taxpayer files an appeal, assessors inspect the property. If they determine the value is inaccurate, the owner is offered an updated valuation. At that point, the owner has the choice to accept it or bring the case before the appeal board for a public hearing.
Normally, the city would be finishing up the appeals this week. But because of the high volume, a City Council committee granted an extension through the end of May.
City Assessor Patrick Todd told the council committee last week that the higher volume of complaints is a response to an increasingly competitive housing market. Homeowners see jumps in property values and worry their property taxes will spike when the levy comes out later in the year. Todd also attributed the increase to social media, saying homeowners are more often looking up their home values on sites like Zillow, and then opining collectively on Facebook and Nextdoor and deciding to appeal.