Business property owner Kristy Van Slyck is looking for answers from the Saskatchewan Assessment Management Agency (SAMA) as to why there are inconsistencies in the assessed values of small business properties.
Van Slyck of Viridian Property Management recently wrote a letter to SAMA’s CEO Betty Rogers asking that the assessment agency does a secondary audit.
This comes after Moose Jaw City Council voted in favour of recommending that SAMA look into a secondary audit to find mistakes in property assessments in the city. SAMA has responded to Van Slyck saying that the city has already asked for a secondary audit.
Concerns have been raised by the business community as owners of small business properties saw drastic increases in their assessed property values compared to larger business properties. In turn, the higher your assessed property value, the more you pay in property taxes.
The report to city council on Jan. 9 said SAMA Quality Assurance Managing Director Karlo Simonson told city administration to send any documentation the city may have to him, but the city cannot directly trigger a secondary audit.
Van Slyck was one of the commercial property owners that spoke at city council on Dec. 9 along with Bernie Dombowsky from Charlotte's Catering.
Van Slyck said that she has talked to a number of employees at SAMA and feels that there is no interest in looking into a secondary audit.
“I don't know why it got so far off track and I don't know why they're not choosing to correct it,” she said.
She said she’s appealed two of her property assessments and it was a very hard and intimidating process since the burden of proof is on the property owner and they have only 30 days to file the appeal.
When it comes to sale prices, SAMA uses adjusted sale prices, which Van Slyck said is very complex and inaccurate.
“I had four transactions during that four-year period. The one that I appealed they used in their analysis and I purchased it for $550,000. But if you look at the dollar amount that they have their value compared to it is $825,000,” she said.
Van Slyck feels there are a number of options that SAMA could take to simplify appraisals and make them more accurate.
While pushing for the secondary audit, Van Slyck said she understands there is an urgency and understands it could mean businesses will have to close their doors if the process is drawn out. However, she will continue to push for a secondary audit in order to get the situation fixed moving forward.
If a secondary audit by SAMA’s Quality Assurance Division is not in the cards, Van Slyck said she doesn’t know what her next step will be.
“All I know is an independent third-party quality assurance or whatever type should do a secondary audit,” she said.
Her wish is that a secondary audit in some form will be done by the end of the year.