Tax revolt produces results for Washoe County homeowners group
INCLINE VILLAGE – A group of homeowners protesting assessed property values has been making great strides lately.
The Nevada Tax Commission’s rules and regulations were revised a few weeks ago to address concerns regarding appraisal methods that had been used to assess properties by the Washoe County Assessor’s office, such as “tear downs,” time adjustments, views, beach rock grading and condos.
“This is our first huge victory,” said Maryanne Ingemanson, president of The Village League to Save Incline Assets. “Now we have a real weapon to say to the assessors, ‘This is the way it has to be done here.'”
Washoe County Assessor Bob McGowan agreed that a revision in the regulations was a step in the right direction.
“Anything that would stabilize the old regulations, make them more clear, will make it better for all of us,” he said. “More power to us all.”
The proposed rules are scheduled to go before the Nevada Tax Commission on June 25.
Ingemanson said Incline Village and Crystal Bay homeowners have been overtaxed because values have been overstated by about $160 million during the past four years.
“The reasons were that the rules were not being followed,” she said. “I call it the tax plague, and it is spreading.”
On Tuesday at a court hearing before Judge Peter Breen in Reno, a motion to dismiss a class-action lawsuit aiming to halt alleged discriminatory practices in appraising homes in Incline Village and Crystal Bay was taken into consideration.
Judge Breen decided to consider whether the lawsuit should be dismissed, Ingemanson said.
The lawsuit, filed last November, claims McGowan illegally boosted property values an average of 49 percent in one year, resulting in excessive values and higher property taxes. The league filed the lawsuit on behalf of 6,970 homeowners in Incline Village and Crystal Bay. It claims 2,800 of those homeowners as members of its nonprofit group created to protect property rights at the lake, Ingemanson said.
State and county lawyers want to dismiss the suit and deny the league the right to represent homeowners in the communities.
Ingemanson said “she feels confident and positive” about Judge Breen taking the motion into consideration.
“I don’t think there’s any evidence that anything wrong or illegal has been done on our part,” McGowan said. “This is all just based on what people feel, and you can’t tell them how to feel.”
“The facts have shown the Washoe County Assessor’s Office followed the law and procedures set forth,” he said.
The league also recently received a Supreme Court date of June 22 regarding the appeal of due process violations.
A June 8 hearing has also been set before Judge William Maddox in Carson City regarding the motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
“This is a very powerful movement we’ve started, and we’re winning,” Ingemanson said. “The Village League is changing the entire state of Nevada.”