The readers’ forum

Property appraiser’s customer-service improvements

 

When I began my term as property appraiser of Miami-Dade County, I laid out a vision detailing how the office should operate. One hundred days later, we have built upon that vision by finding ways to help taxpayers receive benefits they are entitled to, deal with those taking advantage of the system and improve upon how information is communicated to the public.

One of the key components of our efforts is ensuring that a property’s taxable value is fairly and accurately assessed. We will post values for the nearly 1 million properties by June 1, providing taxpayers with the opportunity to see values earlier than ever. This will give them ample opportunity to meet with our staff if there are doubts about an assessment and ensure that we keep their property taxes low. Historically, if property owners thought there was a valid reason for a value adjustment, they had to file an appeal with the Value Adjustment Board. This process could take 12 to 18 months and results in a high number of appeals. Our goal is to reduce the number of appeals and the burden placed on our court system.

Another major focus of the office is combating fraud, which increases the tax burden on us all. Property owners who fraudulently benefit from homestead exemptions are being investigated. We recently issued a solicitation to various organizations, in an effort to identify the best system solution, which may facilitate in our efforts. Additionally, our initiative to remove unlawful adverse possession claims helps stop squatters.

Improvements are being made not only to office policy, but also to the physical space in which we serve the community. For those who face challenges reaching our office, we are bringing our services to them by visiting senior centers and holding monthly town hall meetings.

Our convenient customer service extends to the web, where for the first time this year, homestead exemptions can be filed.

I would like to hear from you on other ways we can improve our services. Email me at clc@miamidade.gov with suggestions or questions. Everyone can stay updated through Facebook.com/ MiamiDadePA.

Carlos Lopez-Cantera, property appraiser,

Miami-Dade County, Miami

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