Hundreds of property owners appeal property assessment

Local News

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) –  Hundreds of Sioux City taxpayers are not happy with their 2019 property assessments. In some cases, those assessments will almost double their property tax bill. 

Chase Cejka owns American Brothers in Arms. He said he couldn’t believe his eyes when he received his 2019 property assessment. 

“I was shocked. I mean you know, one of the buildings went up 73 percent,” said Cejka. 

He plans to fight back and he’s not alone. Hundreds of property owners in Sioux City are appealing their property assessments, after receiving increases averaging 44 percent for commercial properties and about 10 percent on residential properties.

John Lawson, the Sioux City assessor, explained how many people have filed appeals so far. 

“We had an informal appeal process from April 2nd to April 25th. We handled roughly 400 appeals during that time. The formal appeals right now are about 200 and 45 of those have been withdrawn,” said Lawson.

Cejka said he didn’t understand the abrupt increase especially because he just bought one the properties a few months ago. 

“It was amazing that it went up that much to me, especially because it was based on what they called fair market value. That was a building I bought about six months prior for significantly less than they appraised it for,” said Cejka. 

Lawson said the reason for the increases was that some of the markets were showing property values as unassessed. He said this increase isn’t a surprise to him because values increase every odd-numbered year. He said more than 1,000 people filed appeals in 2017. 

“What we do is we take all the sales within the city of Sioux City on a class property, those go to the Department of Revenue and they look at them and determine what they consider good sales and then they use that as a ratio,” said Lawson.

Cejka said if businesses are forced to pay higher property taxes, those costs could mean high prices for customers.

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