Local engineer Greg Schick approached the Bourbon County Commission Thursday morning to ask about the process of property appraisals and point out his experience of appraisals that do not seem to match the true value of that property.
“I think there’s a blatant problem in the county,” Schick said, giving examples of a 100-acre piece of property with just $130 in property taxes, while a home he purchased for $5,200 was later appraised at $25,000. “There’s a big disparity.”
County appraiser Clint Anderson said his office is always looking for ways to improve their assessments and that improvements have been made. The state looks at appraisals to make sure they are within 10 percent of what the property is sold for. Anderson said in recent years Bourbon County has been around the 97 percentile, and in the past year was right at 100 percent in that comparison.
But while the total appraisals seem to be right on the proper value, Anderson said that ratio can be skewed by higher-valued properties being appraised lower than their worth, while lower-valued properties are appraised too high.
Anderson said properly appraising those lower-valued properties is a specific goal for him in the upcoming year, but said that can be difficult since, when appraising any structure, they can only make an estimate based on the exterior. Anderson said sometimes they come across a home that may look well-kept on the outside, but then sells for a lower price because the inside may be gutted, and vice versa.
Property is assessed much differently, according to Anderson, with the appraisal not just coming from the size or location of the land, but from its production. That production can include crops, timber, irrigation or just natural grass. Acreage used solely for hunting often leads to much lower property taxes because there is not a measurable production.
“We have no ability whatsoever to change those values,” Anderson said of such properties, saying the state constitution defines it. “We say what it is and they tell us how much.”
But for those appraisals determined locally, Anderson said they are making a conscious effort to make them as accurate as possible to prevent property taxes from being any higher than necessary for Bourbon County residents.