‘I was blown away by the number’: Linn County homeowners shocked by 2023 assessments

Assessments have just been sent to people who own property in Linn County outside the city of Cedar Rapids.
Published: Mar. 27, 2023 at 10:51 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Linn County property owners are set to pay more in taxes after their 2023 assessments, and for some, it’s a lot more.

Assessments have been sent to people who own property in Linn County outside the city of Cedar Rapids.

Matt Koch is one of those homeowners. He said his home’s value went from $295,000 to $413,000.

“I was blown away by the number,” said Koch. “I thought, wow, I guess I just made $120,000 waking up and going to the mailbox one morning. So, I don’t know, I don’t see it.”

Koch said the change means about $1,500 more a year in property taxes. He plans to contest the assessment since he think it wouldn’t get that price were he to put it on the market.

“I think that number is unrealistic. I really do. I mean, prove me wrong. If somebody’s got that, then let me know. But I don’t see it,” said Koch.

He’s not the only one to question the numbers.

“If it’s only a couple of percent increase, people are fine, it doesn’t bother them,” said Jerry Witt, Linn County Assessor. “30, 40% increase in assessed, that—it really gets people interested very quickly in the process.”

Witt said his office sent out notices earlier than normal knowing there would be a lot of pushback.

“A lot of the confusion is that they don’t think we’re supposed to be at market value. Typically, assessments are below market because we’re just trailing behind,” said Witt. “This year is such a huge increase, or this last two years. And we caught up. It was a huge jump. And it’s throughout the entire state, and entire nation, everything is up. And we’re just catching up to it right now. And we’re at market value.”

Witt’s office assesses property throughout Linn County, but not in Cedar Rapids where the notices are to go out March 29.

While Witt said his office responds to the market, Koch thinks the current market is a far remove from reality.

“We’re all paying more for everything right now, right? Property tax is now going up. Construction materials are way up. Groceries are up. Everything’s up right now, right? But I didn’t get it 30% raise this year,” said Koch.

“I just think that there’s a gap between what’s real and what they’re taxing,” said Koch.