The Property Tax Appeal Group takes pride in custom tailoring its methods and arguments for each property owner it represents, by analyzing the condition and complexity of each property appealed. By doing so, P-Tag has successfully recovered substantial refunds for many of our Clients.
a recent Value Adjustment Board before a Special Magistrate for the 2012
property tax assessment, a 94%
reduction was granted for the building. It was reduced from $1,762,500 to only a “token
value” of $100,000.
argument presented by Barry Sharpe pointed out that the County was in effect
“double-dipping” by charging taxes on land that is not buildable in its present
state, plus charging additional taxes on an old building with a liability
County was assessing the mall, comparing its assessment with the values of
other “supposedly” like parcels of land, that actually have the ability to
build an 80 story skyscraper.
order to obtain the highest and best use at this, it should first be
demolished. Then, it would no longer be “handicapped” with an old
building in the way. Having such a building is actually a negative for a
builder. One has to then deal with
demolition, environmental matters, evicting and relocating tenants, etc.
All this takes time and money.
investor or building contractor such as Sharpe, who handled the tax appeal, would
not want to purchase with so many unknowns. He would prefer purchasing a
vacant lot, with the ability to build, from day one.
is an example as to how one can have an income producing building in downtown
Miami and on the other hand, not have to pay taxes on the building. This is a win-win situation for the property
Those that filed property assessment tax appeals in 2012,
all they now have to show is the cost of their filing fee—with no
results. Yes, they are frustrated and many even start
to believe that it is not even possible to obtain a refund. Why should anyone think
that 2013 will be any different? Those that have never appealed before
realize that they have a good chance for a refund, if an appeal is
The delay is due to the Value assessment board being back up, We wish it was possible to expedite the cases but we have to sit and wait.
Furthermore, if there is an assessment reduction, the property tax cap set by law, may also trigger an automatic second
refund check for them for the following year.
The Property Appraiser is now working out settlements on
the 2013 property tax petitions through
informal assessment reviews. But
somehow, the 2012 prior year’s appeal, still is awaiting a hearing date.
This may have an unanticipated benefit for the
County. It may be an indirect way of
cutting down on the amount of tax refunds to be issued by the County, in
addition to the amount of appeals filed.
Even though the County is required to pay 12% interest on
refunds as a result of tax petition, by delaying the appeal hearings, it has
created a damper effect on people that would otherwise have wanted to file an
It now appears that this is may be a big win for the County. In this manner the County will not have to
worry as much about people inquiring about their property assessments.
IMPORTANT: Broward deadline to file is this Monday the September 16, 2013, and Miami-Dade is Tuesday September 17, 2013. If you miss the deadline you forfeit the right to appeal. DO NOT MISS IT.
Is there life after contamination? Even if you properly clean the land you get a certificate stating the property is 99.9% free of contamination.
If you were looking to buy a property, would you make an offer if it had been contaminated? What if the property next door had the problem?
Even a small amount of contamination can taint a large area. Below is a story from the Miami Herald about a park in Coconut Grove that formerly had an incinerator on the grounds that was shut down in 1970. The problem is the contamination has just been sitting in the ground. It was covered over and looks great today but what lies beneath.
If you or your neighbors have or have had an issue with contamination, let us know. It can greatly assist us in getting you a property tax reduction. www.PTAGflorida.com
Miami city workers have trucked away contaminated dirt and paved
the parking lot at a popular park for children and dogs in Coconut Grove
after tests showed the soil contained lead, arsenic and other toxic
The soil at Blanche Park, 3045 Shipping Ave. — tested
as part of a wider study into contamination from an old Miami
incinerator — exceeded levels allowed by the county, according to a
Sept. 4 letter sent to the city by the county’s Department of
In a meeting hastily called by City
Commissioner Marc Sarnoff at the park Monday night, between 75 and 100
neighbors, many with dogs, questioned Sarnoff as well as the county’s
environmental chief, Wilbur Mayorga.
“Is it safe for our kids to play here while it’s being
remediated?” asked Justin Leto, a lawyer whose two young children play
at the park. “They should close the entire park pending further
Elizabeth Ramirez led officials to a spot where
just six months ago, she said, kids played with sand in a gap in the
artificial turf that covers most of the park. Sometimes, she said, they
“Kids used to literally sit here and dig and it was their dinner,” she said.
the parking lot acts as a cap and ensures it is safe, Mayorga
explained. The artificial turf within the park provides the same type of
“That should not be looked at as a small and incomplete step,” he said. “It’s just our initial” step.
who lives across the street, asked the city to test the soil in August
after a University of Miami graduate student discovered a two-year-old
city study that uncovered soil contamination at a nearby firefighter
training facility. The facility, which opened in 1983, had been built on
land once occupied by the incinerator, named Old Smokey.
asked them to test places right away where we knew kids were. That was
my primary concern,” he said. “Then I said where are the control
studies? And they said they weren’t doing any. I’m not an expert, but it
just seemed obvious.”
The tests were part of eight targeted
borings done by the city after the county ordered it to test 15 other
random sites in light of the contaminated soil found at the
firefighters’ training site, the former home of the incinerator at 3425
Jefferson St. The city also targeted Peacock Park, where no
contamination was found, as well as Esther Mae Armbrister Park and area
schools, including F.S. Tucker and Carver elementary schools, Carver
Middle and Coral Gables Senior High. Those samples are still being
In addition, the county collected 40 samples from the neighborhood.
the samples will be evaluated to give a fuller picture of what exists
in the soil. Some have shown relatively minor levels of contaminants.
But samples taken at Blanche were so high that Mayorga ordered its
parking lot roped off. Paving the lot will temporarily seal the soil so
it can remain open until studies are complete, he explained.
indicate the site, which had been used to quarry limestone, was
purchased by the city in 1943 to dump trash, said Assistant City Manager
Alice Bravo. In 1962, it was turned into a park, she said.
fact, the soil borings contain glass, indicating ash was dumped at the
site, Mayorga said. That also means the contamination likely did not
come from ash spewing from the incinerator.
The latest finding only complicates what has become a prolonged investigation burdened with delays.
city shut down the incinerator in 1970 after the city of Coral Gables
and two dozen residents successfully sued over the noxious smoke that
billowed from the old stack, at times violating pollution controls.
Before the city opened the fire training facility, no testing for
contamination was done, according to a city study.
however, the city tested the land where it wanted to expand the training
center and found elevated levels of toxic heavy metals such as arsenic,
barium and lead.
The county’s DERM has been asking the city to
come up with a plan for cleaning up that contamination for more than two
years. In August, after residents in the West Grove complained when UM
shared its findings with them, the county ordered the city to widen its
testing to a one-mile radius.
On Friday, Bravo asked for yet another extension to the latest deadline, which was at 5 p.m. Monday.
with the findings at Blanche Park, the investigation will widen yet
again. In addition to samples collected Friday, DERM plans to collect
even more samples from the park, Mayorga said. And there will be a
meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Elizabeth Virrick Park, 3255 Plaza St.,
for residents to discuss the issue.
“We don’t even know the extent of the contamination,” he said. “We need to understand the vertical profile.”
Miami Shores council members tentatively agreed to a slightly
lower tax rate for 2014 after the first of two budget hearings Wednesday
The rate will be $8.6949 per $1,000 in taxable property
value, including a 69.49-cent levy to cover debts for the village’s
charter school and aquatics center. This year’s rate was $8.75.
for the longtime owner of a home assessed at $200,000, the bill would
be $1,333, or about $21 more than this year. That assumes the owner is
entitled to the standard $50,000 homestead exemption and that the home’s
assessed value increases by 1.7 percent, the maximum allowed by law.
These figures don’t include separate property taxes paid to the Miami-Dade School Board, the county and other agencies.
Shores has one of the highest municipal tax rates in Miami-Dade County.
This year, only Opa-locka and Biscayne Park had a higher total property
The sanitation rates ($705.52 per year per single
family residence) and stormwater rates ($45 per equivalent residential
unit) also will remain the same.
The village says the budget is
balanced with no cuts to services or layoffs. One of the main
initiatives the council has taken for this upcoming fiscal year is to
reassess and adjust the current pay plan for village employees because
of “experienced difficulties recruiting and retaining qualified
Vice Mayor Jesse Walters commented that salaries of
the most “lowly paid” employees have remained stagnant for years and
have been in need of a raise. The council budgeted $175,000 to the
upcoming fiscal year to implement changes to the pay plan recommended by
an outside firm, which includes a 3-percent increase or other
adjustment based on the study, for all non-union village employees.
the budget appears to be largely settled, one issue that will likely
won’t be resolved before the budget is finalized and approved is the
amount the village expects to pay towards employee pensions. In the
past, the village has contributed between $125,000 to $150,000 a year to
the pension fund. However, the current account manager for Gabriel,
Roeder, Smith & Co., the village’s actuary, says the village should
contributing as much as $400,000 a year to their pension fund, which
represents an increase of $250,000 over the last fiscal year.