Those ‘pesky’ green cards are out to MOA property and business owners. By city ordinance, the cards must be mailed by January 15th each year and owners have thirty days from the mailing date to file an appeal. In order to do so, you must complete a written appeal form identifying the grounds for the appeal and pay a filing deposit. This deposit varies based upon the assessed value. For properties between $100,000 and $499,999 which includes the majority of single family homes in the MOA, the filing fee is $100. Between $500,000 and $1,999,999 the fee is $200 and above $2 million, the fee is $1,000. These fees will be returned to you if the disputed assessed value is resolved prior to the hearing.
So before you file a formal appeal I suggest you take a hike down to the city assessor’s office located at City Hall, 632 West 5th Avenue, Room 300. Their office hours are 8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. The staff at the assessor’s office is both reasonable and friendly and if you can provide evidence that a mistake has been made, they can make an adjustment on the spot. In my experience, it is one of the most professional, knowledgeable and cooperative departments within the city.
But before you get all bent out of shape about your assessment, here’s what you should know as to how they evaluate property. By statute, the assessor’s office must physically inspect property every six years. Just like you when objecting to your valuation, they take into consideration recent sales prices of comparable properties and, if you have bought the property, the sales price. Interestingly enough, Alaska is a non-disclosure state when it comes to sales prices and so property assessors are often sleuths when it comes to finding out values, even picking up marketing flyers or searching public records for mortgage amounts and types.
If you are appealing a land assessment, you and the MOA should take into consideration location, zoning, desirable features such as view, waterfront, good access and even undesirable features such as poor soils or steep topography, location of utilities and the inevitable wetlands that impacts so much of Anchorage’s remaining raw acreage.
If you are unable to resolve your assessment ‘at the counter’, you may file the appeal to the Board of Equalization which is made up of private citizens appointed by the Anchorage assembly. Like many boards and commissions, there is no compensation for their service.