Uproar Over Appraisal Rates - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/27/04

Uproar Over Appraisal Rates

Homeowners are receiving their appraisal notices and are noticing dramatic increases. An average of over 8%, leading to flared tempers.

Appraisers say the jump is just a reflection of local real estate demand, nevertheless, at least one city councilman and several homeowners are putting on the pressure to justify the average increase of 8.14%.

"Why such an increase?," NewsChannel 11 asked. "It's been another active year in the Lubbock real estate market," said Chief Appraiser Dave Kimbrough, standing by his appraisal rates.

"I think the practice of appraisals in the Lubbock are is immoral," countered Lubbock city councilman Gary Boren. "This extreme, outrageous, and unbelievable percentages that are going on with no consistency and no under the "mass appraisal system" that is highly, highly, irregular."

How does Lubbock compare with other West Texas communities? Last year the hub city jumped 7.2%, Midland rose 3%, Amarillo up 4%. This year, Lubbock is up 8.14%, Midland will rise between 8 and 10%, and Amarillo is up 4.93%.

"I'm not afraid of it this time," said Robert Welch. Last year, NewsChannel 11 found him watering his $79,145 property, or so said the appraisal district. He appealed, and had $7,000 cut off the top. One year later..."They did it to us again," he said.

When he opened the mail he found a familiar surprise. "How much did they raise it?," asked NewsChannel 11. "$7,194, and the only improvement I made was a $900 driveway. I guess they looked at it and thought, 'Man that's $8,000 bucks worth of driveway," he laughed.

"I feel sorry for Lubbock citizens that endure this," said Boren. He says the appraisal process is outdated, political, and broken. "It's inconsistent and its not rational."

"Are there any politics involved with how you set your rate?," NewsChannel 11 asked Kimbrough. "As far as value, no sir. The value of a piece of property is not a political decision," he said.

As for welch, "fight for what you think is right," he said. He's ready for battle. "So I'm gonna go down there to get the $7,000 off again," he stated.

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