Assessor explains latest round of property assessments


Property assessments, commercial and residential combined, are up one percent. The Marion County assessor says that's the first increase in four years and most of it comes from the residential side.

Colleen Ciampa, who lives in Meridian Kessler on the city's north side, saw her assessment jump eight percent.

"I'm concerned for everyone around here," Ciampa said, noting "some of my neighbors are up quite a bit more and we have a lot of young, single people. It's rough."

Assessed values rose an average of six percent in Washington Township, the highest in the county.

Maria Madar, like many in Meridian Kessler and Butler Tarkington, actually saw a double-digit increase. The assessed value of her home shot up 14.16 percent.

She paused before saying, "I guess it could mean good news, because real estate is going up again."

The new figures are part of a general reassessment required by the state that began two years ago. Assessors had to physically inspect each property, noting additions or changes.

So what is your home's assessment based on? Marion County Assessor Joe O'Connor said it's based mostly on what homes in your neighborhood sold for the last two years.

But this time, he said, they also had to factor in updated land and home replacement costs that hadn't been updated in ten years.

In 2007, higher assessments compounded by higher taxes prompted numerous protests. Those protests led to several new tax relief measures, including property tax caps.

O'Connor noted not everyone is seeing an increase in assessed values. Buddy Phipps' assessment is down almost 6 percent. In fact, just about everyone in his northeast side neighborhood has seen their assessments slip and that worries him.

"I'd rather see it stay the same, because if I decide to sell, it will effect what I get out of my home," Phipps said.

Back in Meridian Kessler, Madar was torn.

"I'm going to take it as good news," she said. "But I just don't way to pay more in taxes, because we just got hit really hard."