Munster woman says tax officials miscounted condo bedrooms

2013-05-03T19:45:00Z 2013-05-04T10:50:03Z Munster woman says tax officials miscounted condo bedroomsBill Dolan, (219) 662-5328

CROWN POINT | You can't judge a Munster woman's condominium by its current assessed value.

Lynda Gleim, of 1710 Camellia Drive, said she has lived for years in a one-bedroom unit that this year is being taxed the same as if it had two bedrooms.

"It was assessed differently before, and more fairly, I thought, so how can this be?" Gleim said.

Lake County Assessor Hank Adams said he and his staff are trying to get to the bottom of who made the mistake.

"When we get it straightened out, she will like the change," he said.

Adams said the problem arises in how his office updated the property value of the Catherine Condominiums complex, where Gleim lives, and then shared out those changes among its residents, who each own a percentage of the tax liability.

He said the county apparently knew Gleim's correct percentage in the past, but that data, which was never officially recorded in county records, was overlooked during the recently completed general reassessment when all properties have to be recalculated.

Gleim said she discovered what happened when she received the county's notice of her new assessment and compared it with that of her neighbors. Some 76 units in the Catherine Condominiums' five buildings come in three different sizes. Adams said their value for taxing purposes varies from $70,000 to $100,000.

She said the county apparently increased her one-bedroom unit's assessment by about $3,000 and reduced a nearby two-bedroom by $12,400.

"Now they are assessed the same," she said.

After being alerted by Gleim, Adams said his staff studied a 70-page document normally used to share out each unit's particular assessment.

"The goof-up came when we found the right information in a hand-written note," he said. "It should have all been recorded at the recorder's office."

Adams said the county can measure a multiunit building's interior divisions only by relying on documents, called declarations, that condominium developers draw up, because the government's authority ends at the building's exterior and his staff cannot always rely on floor plans.

He said sometimes a developer's calculations may be in error, but the county is obliged to follow it unless all the condominium owners in a building unanimously approve a change.

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