Jefferson County PVA removes ‘unfair’ tax discount, opens appeals early

Jefferson County PVA Colleen Younger announced she was discontinuing a 15 percent discount given to some investment property owners. | Photo by Kevin Gibson

Jefferson County Property Value Administrator Colleen Younger last week announced several changes to the office, including removal of what she calls an “arbitrary” and “unfair” discount previously afforded to some residential investment property owners.

In addition, she unveiled a You Have a Right to Appeal campaign as part of an effort to “demystify” the role of the PVA office and increase public knowledge about what it does, including providing “fair and equitable property assessments.”

During a news conference, Younger emphasized eliminating the discount, which she said went on the books in 2005 under another PVA, whom she did not name. John May, who Younger ran against for the office last fall, was appointed to PVA in May 2005 after Denise Harper Angel was elected to the Kentucky General Assembly.

Before her election, Younger had been chief of staff at the office under the longtime PVA Tony Lindauer.

“I do not feel it was legal,” Younger said of the 15 percent discount afforded to some of the investment property owners, whom she did not specify, adding, “I’m not sure what the reason was” for creating it. Stressing that the PVA office does not set tax rates nor does it collect taxes, she estimated that discontinuing the discount would put $45 million in taxable property back on the tax rolls.

In her overview of the state of real estate values in Jefferson County, Younger said, “Overall, the real estate market is very strong in Louisville, Ky.”

A countywide assessment for 2019 shows about a $3.23 billion increase over last year, or about 5 percent. Neighborhoods showing significant increases include Old Louisville at 20.46 percent and Shively at 20.07 percent. Portland’s assessments went up 17.2 percent, while the Russell neighborhood saw an 11.68 percent increase.

She referred to the real estate market crash of 2007 and 2008, and said it appeared many neighborhoods hit hardest were “going back to what they were pre-crash.”

Younger also announced assessment notices would take on a new format that she said would be easier to read and understand. In addition, for property owners who wish to appeal their property’s assessed value, she opened up assessment conferencing April 26, or 10 days earlier than required by state law. The statutory window is May 6-20, she said. Online conferences are now available.

She urged those who wish to appeal to provide detailed information, as assessments generally must be done based on the properties’ exteriors. Photos of finished basements or other improvements will help better determine an accurate assessment, Younger said.