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Brandner v. Municipality of Anchorage

Supreme Court of Alaska

June 13, 2014

SHEILA C. BRANDNER, Appellant,
v.
MUNICIPALITY OF ANCHORAGE, Appellee

Appeal from the Superior Court of the State of Alaska, Third Judicial District, Anchorage, Andrew Guidi, Judge. Superior Court No. 3AN-12-07520 CI.

Sheila C. Brandner, Appellant, Pro se, Anchorage.

Pamela D. Weiss, Assistant Municipal Attorney, and Dennis A. Wheeler, Municipal Attorney, Anchorage, for Appellee.

Before: Fabe, Chief Justice, Winfree, Stowers, Maassen, and Bolger, Justices.

OPINION

Page 201

BOLGER, Justice.

I. INTRODUCTION

Sheila Brandner appeals the Anchorage Municipal Board of Equalization's (the Board's) valuation of her home for the 2012 tax year. She argues that the Municipal assessor's office used an improper appraisal method and that the Board overestimated the value of her property. We conclude that the Board made a clerical error in the calculation of the value of Brandner's property. We therefore remand to the Board to adopt a final assessment of $420,700, which is consistent with the Board's intent.

II. FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS

The property at issue in this appeal is a single-family residence on a 1.17 acre lot in the Spring Hills Estates community of Anchorage. At Brandner's request, Municipality of Anchorage assessor Lucito Muñoz and his supervisor, John Dyson, inspected the property on June 20, 2011. According to Muñoz's testimony, they noticed that the house had some defects, and so gave it a " fair," or below average, rating. Based on their inspection and a comparison of other like properties, they concluded that Brandner's property was worth $499,400.

Brandner appealed the assessment, claiming that it overvalued her property " by a long shot." In preparation for her appeal before the Board, Brandner obtained an independent appraisal and several repair estimates from local contractors. Her appraiser, Paige Hodson, valued the property at $385,000, and the contractors estimated that repair work on the house would cost between $120,000 and $140,000.

Although Brandner sought to introduce copies of the appraisal and estimates during a hearing before the Board, she was not permitted to do so because she had failed to submit the evidence by the required deadline. However, the Board allowed her to testify as to the substance of those documents.

The Board held a hearing concerning Brandner's appeal on March 27, 2012. During the hearing, Brandner and Hodson argued that the Municipality's appraisal did not adequately take into account the poor condition of the property. To support their argument, they testified to Hodson's appraisal and the three repair estimates.

Muñoz responded that his appraisal did take into account the property's below-average condition. He testified that the property is worth $560,700,[1] but that he subtracted about $61,000 to account for defects he observed during his inspection. He therefore ...


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