Time to Reform the Assessor's Office and Assessement Appeals Board
Either the Assessor's office intentionally over-assesses properties or the staff is incompetent. The assessment on my condo went up last year, when the entire market was down an average of around 9%. My initial appeal was turned down so I had to go before the Assessment Appeals Board (AAB).
The Assessor's representative was completely unprepared for the hearing, and had no comps when my case was called. He ran down to his office and appeared nearly half-an-hour later with some comps from the wrong building. I pointed this out and his manager got up and defended his case, saying that the building next door was just like mine, therefore the comps were valid. The problem is that when I tried to provide comps from the building next door in the my prior years' base year hearing then Assessor's representative claimed that only comps in my building were valid, which at that time the AAB accepted.
The AAB lowered my assessment, but it still was well above the market value. This system is a joke. There is no way that my condo went up in value last year and no way that I should have been forced to waste my time going to the AAB. I cannot believe that the AAB is an impartial body. They behave as if they consider the financial condition of the city when valuing properties, which should be irrelevant when considering an assessed valuation.
I will have to appeal my 2010 assessment as well. I was assessed around $40K above the sale price of an identical condo immediately next door to me, that has nicer features.
I would be willing to make the city a personal loan of $10K interest free for a year to cover its short-term expenses if I could get an assessment that is aligned to the reduced value of my property. And what about Prop 13? I favor it. We need to do everything possible to force state and local governments to run as lean as possible.