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Some assessments lowered

Nearly 74 percent of property assessment appeals filed this year were lowered, according to numbers revealed by the city Wednesday. Of the waterfront property appeals, 88 percent were adjusted.

Sid Daughtrey, interim city assessor for the city of Suffolk, said it was both an “active” and “educational” summer as he addressed City Council Wednesday night.

He went on to tell Council that of the approximately 523 appeals received by the assessor’s office, 387 of these appeals saw decreases in their property assessments.

About 42 percent — 218 — of the appeals came from waterfront property owners. Of that subgroup, 88 percent saw adjustments made to their assessments. Seeing the inconsistency in the numbers, the board of equalization then decided to make additional adjustments to 325 properties whose owners did not appeal, but were affected in the same way as the other properties.

“That 325 shows, to me, the Board of Equalization followed through very strong on their charge of equity,” Daughtrey told Council.

No total figure of the amount given back to citizens was presented to Council, but Daughtrey did tell Council that new construction projects – specifically commercial projects – outweighed the overstatement of value in properties, and the city’s total property revenue is $10.8 billion.

Councilman Charles Parr praised Daughtrey and his work, telling him he did a “wonderful job” with a difficult task.

Councilman Charles Brown also praised Daughtrey and his staff, but pushed Daughtrey to answer what lessons he had learned from this process. Daughtrey said the staff found a lot of areas where they could improve and ways they could make the assessment process easier and more efficient.

When pushed by Brown again for more specific lessons, Daughtrey said the office simply was not prepared for the volume of inquiries and did not have the right method of tracking inquiries. He also said that while there is practically the same staff in place for this year’s assessments, they were going to tackle the assessment process using different methods – including using more comparisons between subdivisions than previously.