Man sues Jefferson County Assessors Office, others for unfairly assessing real estate

By Kyla Asbury | Mar 15, 2010

CHARLES TOWN -- A man is suing the Jefferson County Commission, after he claims they unfairly assessed property he owns

Angela Banks, a Jefferson County assessor, and Christopher G. Morris, a state tax commissioner, were also named in the suit.

Donald J. Orser is engaged in the consolidation of individual real estate lots to form viable "building sites" which can be approved by the Health Department for the installation of onsite well and septic systems and claims he must consolidate two, three, four or more lots which are contiguous to obtain approval by the Health Department for a single building site, according to a complaint filed March 1 in Jefferson Circuit Court.

The Jefferson County Assessors Office uses a program called IAS 4.0 to assess values for real estate, but the program is unable to value a single building site which is comprised of several individual lots, according to the suit.

Orser claims retained James W. Fisher, a certified Real Estate Appraiser, to inspect and appraise various building sites he owned.

On Feb. 23, 2009, Fisher presented testimony and documentary evidence including fair market value for each building site and upon conclusion of his testimony, the Commission "ignored and disregarding" his testimony and "failed to provide any reason to disregard the testimony of a licensed real estate appraiser," according to the suit.

The Commission "erroneously placed inflated values over and about the fair market value on the buildings under consideration in the Appeals filed by Orser," the complaint states.

Orser is seeking the court to reduce the assessed value of the land. He is being represented by J. Michael Cassell.

Jefferson Circuit Court case number: 10-C-68

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