By Letter to the Editor on October 5, 2017.
As election candidates are presently stating their platform, we, as new residents, are compelled to relate our experience when we filed an appeal on our 2017 tax assessment. The 2016 assessment was increased by $27,800 and there were no changes on the property.
We are seniors but not up on legal or government procedures but did research and decided to appeal the amount even when we received input from local residents that it would not make a difference.
The Assessment Guide states that the taxpayers have a legislated right to know how their assessment is determined. In discussion with the Assessment Board on the reason for the increase, they claimed that they were unable to perform an inspection on the improvements made on this home in 1996 (20 years). The assessor claims the additional basement development and a bathroom were not previously assessed. We received documents and a copy of the 2015 and 2017 assessment showing the finished basement and bathroom on both forms. In fact, the 2010 assessment listed an improvement value similar to the 2016 assessment.
We also want to mention that the assessor compared our property to homes in the prestigious Gyro Park area and did not find any homes for sale in our area to compare with. The assessment value in our area ranges from $250,000-$343,000 and understand that as the market value of homes changes, the assessment can go up or down.
The LARB decision to deny a reduction on the new assessment stated that the sale and assessment values of similar properties in our neighbourhood is fair and equitable. We concluded that the assessment was not based on home sales or assessment values in our area but on the price we paid. The guide states a range of sale prices be used.
Taxpayers should be vigilant when electing candidates into office as our taxes are one of the highest in Alberta and little consideration is given on disputes covering increased taxes, utilities, etc. that allows us to remain in our own home.
Lethbridge is a great place to live so remember to vote for the candidate who will make the best decisions for the community and your interests.
Derek and MaryAnne Bennett
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