Property Tax Fiasco

Dallas County tax assessor’s property taxes go down due to house fire

Dallas County tax assessor’s property taxes go down due to house fire

Dallas County Tax Assessor John Ames' home
Dallas County Tax Assessor John Ames saw his property taxes decrease in 2016. Photo via Google Maps

UPDATE: Dallas County Tax Assessor John Ames had a low appraisal because his home burned down. The story and headline have been changed to reflect that information.

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Dallas County Tax Assessor John R. Ames, who lives at 1408 Armstrong Dr. in a 5,199-square-foot, mid-1980s house on a cul de sac, is one of the few people in Dallas whose property taxes apparently went down this year. Last year his house was appraised at $254,380. This year it's appraised at $177,270.

I spoke to John today, and he told me the reason why his home was appraised so low is that they had a house fire in February 2015. They lost everything. They’ve been re-building, and the home was only 40 percent complete on January 1.

Dallas-area homeowners are seeing an across-the-board increase in property values, estimated to be as high as 15 percent.

The value of Ames' land held steady from 2015 to 2016, but the improvement to his property dropped from $218,380 in 2015 to $141,270 in 2016. His home is the only one on his street to have seen such a drop; his neighbors all saw increases.

John was out of town on County business when the fire started in — horrifically — his son’s bedroom in a canned light! Fortunately the family escaped with no injury, but they lost almost everything.

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A version of this story originally was posted on Candy's Dirt.