St. Joseph County homeowners feeling sticker shock after increased property assessments

NOW: St. Joseph County homeowners feeling sticker shock after increased property assessments



Many homeowners in St. Joseph County were shocked to see a sizeable increase in their property tax assessments Monday.  

St. Joseph County Assessor Rosemary Mandrici says 56 percent of properties saw an increase in value this year, while 23 percent saw a decrease and 21 percent stayed the same.

“It’s amazing when you open up your envelope and just cannot believe the amount that you’re looking at,” said Terry Trethewey, who lives in the Southland Subdivision in South Bend.

His property assessment was $11,000 higher than last year. He says is the highest increase he’s ever seen in one year si nce 1995 when he moved into his home.

“I’ve seen it jump sporadically here and there, but never that amount,” said Trethewey.  

And he’s not the only one, he says many of his neighbors saw a similar or more drastic increase.

“Mine is probably one of the lowest amounts,” he said. “We have seen numbers jump as high as $40,000 in a neighborhood a few over from this one. In this one we’ve seen increases as high as $25,000.”

Mandrici says nothing has changed in her office’s process for assessment in years.

“This is the same, it’s a mass appraisal approach based on a cost approach with an adjustment to the market,” she said.

The market means home sales in that neighborhood.

“The market may dictate sales that are increasing the overall cost or decreasing the overall cost,” said Mandrici.

Over the past year, more sales at higher prices add up to higher property assessments, even if a homeowner didn’t do work on their own house.

Mandrici says homeowners do have an opportunity to review the sales that adjusted property value. If a homeowner thinks their property assessment is too high, there are options.  

“They have to look at their property record cards,” said Mandrici. “We’ve made a lot of things available online. Make sure they’re being assessed correctly as far as amenities, square footage.”

A homeowner also has 45 days to appeal that assessment. Trethewey says that’s something he’ll be doing.

“We have seen a couple of problems as far as the land size,” he said about is assessment. “Yes, I’ll definitely be appealing that amount.”

Mandrici also says neighborhoods might be bigger than homeowners realize. To find a map detailing taxing districts, click here.

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