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Jax Daily Record Monday, Oct. 8, 201805:20 AM EST

Duval County Property Appraiser suing Value Adjustment Board

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Holland contends board unlawfully reduced taxable value of condominium units.
by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

Duval County Property Appraiser Jerry Holland has filed suit against the county Value Adjustment Board over the board’s decision to reduce the 2017 taxable value of 96 of the 243 condominium units at a property in Baymeadows.

Holland contends that the board, which has jurisdiction when a property owner challenges the taxable value of the property, unlawfully reduced the value of the 96 units.

“The VAB agreed to base the valuation on multiple ownership. It’s a bulk discount,” Holland said.

The units in question are at the Sonoma Southside Condominiums complex at 7740 Southside Blvd. near Baymeadows Road.

The property owner challenged the appraised value and testified to the board that the rental income from the units should be used when setting taxable value, rather than the market value of each unit.

According to the lawsuit, there were sufficient condominium sales within the market for the appraiser to determine the just market value of the units.

The property owner testified that the rents being collected were low compared to the just market value and therefore, the taxable value should be lower than the market value if the units were sold rather than rented.

Holland said the court action isn’t about the reduction in taxable value – that’s less than 20 percent – it’s about treating all Duval County property owners equally when assessing value for tax purposes.

“A lot of people own multiple rental properties. If one person is being applied the law one way, then everyone should be treated that way,” he said.

Holland also said his intent is not to pursue the action all the way to the courtroom.

He’s hoping the action will cause the state Department of Revenue to conduct a training session for his department and the Value Adjustment Board to make sure the appraisers and the review board better understand the statutes related to setting taxable value of property.

“I’m not looking for a victory over the VAB. I want to get to an understanding with VAB about the law. We need to play with the same rule book and interpret the rules the same way,” said Holland.

“If we can set a training date, we’ll drop the lawsuit.”

The case is assigned to Circuit Judge Karen Cole.

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