Representatives from Accurate Appraisals speak to town board
By Robert Cloud
Representatives from Accurate Appraisals came to the Dayton Town Board’s monthly meeting to explain why one of their principal assessors had been decertified.
Firm owner Lee De Groot and James Danielson with Accurate Appraisals of Menasha spoke to the board Tuesday, July 21. It was just six days after the story of Danielson’s decertification ran in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Danielson said the problem began in 2013 after Germantown became one of Accurate Appraisals’ nearly 100 municipal clients. An employee with the company that lost the appraisal contract sent a complaint to the Department of Revenue.
The DOR’s investigation found that Danielson changed individual property values in maintenance or non-evaluation years, which violates the Wisconsin Property Assessment Manual.
Danielson said Accurate only made the changes during maintenance years when the owners provided information about how the sale of their homes had affected their property’s values.
The state manual says that changing the value of one property while most other property values remain the same upsets uniformity and unfairly lowers that property’s assessment and taxes.
Danielson told those attending Dayton’s Town Board meeting that state law and the assessment manual were in conflict.
State law requires that assessors evaluate properties according to market values. The manual requires them to maintain uniformity.
The Journal Sentinel reported that its research found that in 2013, Accurate “had the highest percentage of assessments matching sales prices among the state’s three largest firms.”
Danielson said he learned in January that the DOR also had issues with the way he was classifying some of the properties he was evaluating. In April, he was threatened with revocation of his certification.
“On the Thursday before the July Fourth weekend, I was told I can voluntarily relinquish my certification for six months.” Danielson said.
He must complete DOR-approved training in property classification to regain his certification.