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LA City Hall calls for review of lost property taxes

Photo by John Noguez via Flickr Creative Commons

Two Los Angeles city councilmen want an independent assessor to review properties that received significant tax reductions, which could have resulted in less revenue to the city, under the leadership of Assessor John Noguez.

Concerned by the news that a Los Angeles County appraiser may have improperly slashed the assessed value of Westside properties, two Los Angeles city councilmen today called for an independent review of how much money the city may have lost.

The resolution from Councilmen Paul Krekorian and Dennis Zine asks the county Board of Supervisors to appoint an independent third party to review all properties that received a property tax reduction of least 20 percent beginning in December 2010 when county Assessor John Noguez was elected.

Lower assessed values mean lower taxes for property owners. 

“If there is any undervaluation of property assets that result in a diminished property tax payment to the county, the city is adversely impacted by that and it's going to result, inevitably, in diminished services to our constituents,” Councilman Paul Krekorian told KPCC.

Former county appraiser Scott Schenter is accused of lowering assessed values by $172 million to persuade property owners to donate to Noguez’s campaign. The assessor’s office reversed the devaluations in about half of those cases, according to a complaint from the district attorney’s office.

In fiscal year 2011-12, property taxes account for 21 percent of the city of Los Angeles' General Fund revenue – about $1.43 billion. 

It is unknown how much money the city of Los Angeles may have missed out on because of the devaluations. 

“We have a long way to go before we know what those numbers are,” Krekorian said.

The resolution will be reviewed by the Rules, Elections and Intergovernmental Relations Committee. 

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