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Some property owners receive revised assessments

Ryan Carr's home was reassessed by the state in December, but that wasn't quite the final word.

The state Department of Assessments and Taxation mailed him a second notice last week that showed his Baltimore rowhouse's valuation will rise $11,800 in July from the $227,700 set for the 2009-2010 tax year, rather than dropping to $211,000 as he was told one month earlier.

"I was very surprised," said Carr, a metallurgist who lives in the Riverside neighborhood.

Owen C. Charles, deputy director of the assessments agency, said about 3,200 "supplemental" notices were sent out to city property owners in recent weeks. Some simply reflected new ownership, but the majority changed the assessed value up or down.

That's not unusual. Charles said assessors comb through reassessments at the end of the process to make sure individual values are correct, and typically find some cases where neighbors' assessments aren't uniform or values haven't accounted for new construction. The state has up to 30 days after the initial notice to make corrections, he said.

"All the jurisdictions go through the same thing," said Charles, though he didn't have a count of supplemental notices sent to owners outside the city. It's "just a matter of attempting to make any corrections that need to be made," he said.

Charles said he was unaware of any neighborhood-wide changes. Anyone who receives a supplemental notice has 45 days from when the second notice is dated to file an appeal.

The agency revalued about 780,000 properties in December, including 74,000 in Baltimore.

In Carr's case, records show that his first reassessed value was lower — considerably lower, in some cases — than those of most of his immediate neighbors. He said the second notice, which doesn't indicate that it is a correction, left him befuddled and thinking the process "leaves something to be desired."

The drop to $211,000 would have lowered his tax bill by about $225, and he'd been looking forward to paying less.

But he didn't like the idea that his home had lost so much value since he bought it for $284,000 in 2009. So he sees a silver lining in the new $239,500 valuation the state assigned to the property.

"I don't think I'll be appealing," Carr said.

jhopkins@baltsun.com

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