Danny Womack, commercial real estate appraiser for Floyd County, said of the 75 appeals that were filed, 20 of the property assessments remained unchanged.
The largest property value decrease, in terms of pure dollars, was the $343,160 drop for the building at 413-417 Broad St., which was formerly owned by Piero Barba but is now owned by Gregg and Diane Lewis.
The largest valuation decrease, by percentage, was the 49.5-percent drop for Shorter Properties LLC at 222 Broad St.
At least four other properties also registered assessment drops of at least 40 percent, including those belonging to Joan’s Realty LLC., 314 Broad St.; Dwight L. Walraven, 17 E. Third Ave.; W. George Pullen and June W. Pullen, 7 Broad St.; and Roger Wade, 137 E. First St.
Womack said he felt the whole appeals process was good both for the taxpayers on Broad Street as well the assessor’s office.
“We were able to learn some things that we didn’t
know ahead of time,” Womack said. “Most of what we did was done in advance of the actual Board of Equalization hearing. In other words, we were able to sit down with the taxpayer and then were able to work out a number that we were both agreeable on.”
Wade, who appealed the value of three of his properties downtown, said when it came to his building on East First Street, it was simply a matter of the assessor’s office classifying the building as 10,000 square feet of retail.
“We redid the part where Foxworthy Studios was, which is one-third of the building. The rest of it is nothing but basic raw warehouse, and they had it in a higher value bracket,” Wade said. “When they physically came in and looked, it was one of those quick, ‘Oh, I see’ situations.”
Wade also said because of the fact the building is not actually on Broad Street and doesn’t have parking or the walk-in traffic, that the assessors office realized the situation was different from most downtown business properties.
The situation at 314 Broad St. was very similar. Alice Herring, speaking for Joan’s Realty LLC, said it was a very reasonable, simple process.
“We invited them to come down and see the two buildings. The 314 side is the one side of our store (Ford, Gittings & Kane Jewelers), and it was just a matter of showing them that these two buildings are exactly the same and they should be valued the same,” Herring said. “They walked through, saw the buildings and we came to an agreement.”
George Pullen, who appealed four properties, said he took all four to the Board of Equalization.
“The main thing that happened with my properties was a rationalization of some things that were out of kilter in the past. My number 7 Broad St. has forever been overvalued,” Pullen said. “It turned out to be a fairly calm and pretty rational process.”
Jim and Joe Howell, partners in Shorter Properties LLC, which owns 222 Broad St. and recorded the largest percentage decrease in value by dropping from $292,250 to $147,250, said they took their appeal to the Board of Equalization and were able to agree on the final figure during their hearing.
Jim Howell said he could not figure out why the assessors had the building valued as high as it was.
“We were just shocked when we got our tax bill to start with, and it just seems like there were a lot of inconsistencies with what a lot of that property was worth,” Howell said. “When you figure the rent you can get for those buildings, it’s just really hard to justify paying the taxes.”