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County Assessor Sees Backlog In Property Tax Appeals

Crase's House.

Bartholomew County residents are seeing dramatic increases this year when they open their property tax bills because this is the first time property has been reassessed since 2002.

Bob Crase has lived here in Columbus since the early 1960s. The last time his homes was assessed was 1983, so when he got his reassessment in the mail earlier this month, he was stunned.

“This year when I got my assessment it was up quite a bit from last year, and I checked with some of my neighbors and all the neighbors in the cul-de-sac, their assessment had gone down and mine had went up quite a bit,” he says.

In the assessment some property owners did see their taxes dip, but there are a lot of people like Crase who do not understand why their bills went up so much. County assessor Lew Wilson says his office has seen  four or five times more appeals than usual.

“The 10 year gap is the main thing. It makes it more dramatic,” he says. “Plus when we started the assessment you only had approximately 18 months to finish it from beginning to end. So you’re cramming in an awful lot of work in a short period of time.”

Crase is among those who have decided to appeal. He is retired and on a fixed income. But due to the  unusually high number of appeals the assessor’s office has gotten, Crase’s appeal will not be heard before the first payment is due on May 10.

“They want me to go ahead and pay the first installment and then after I go in front of the board,” he says. “If they agree I am too high, then they will deduct that off the second installment.”

Crase is presenting his case to the Bartholomew County Assessor’s board May 22.

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