Memphis, History & Politics

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Memphis Ikea Could be Killed off by County Assessor's Lost Cause

Our County property tax assessor, Cheyenne Johnson, is going to lose this appeal, risk losing Ikea's investment in this property and to add injury to insult, we the County taxpayers have to pay the legal fees.

The reason this appeal will lose is because Johnson tried the same thing just two years ago and lost at both the local and State Equalization Board levels. Commercial Appeal Sept. 17, 2015 The only thing that has changed in the last two years is that 6 acres of land within a floodplain that cannot be built on were deeded to a homeowner's association.   It was this change to the property that has provided the legal loophole that let Johnson try to change the assessment again. Otherwise, the assessment should have stayed where the state board put it, at 1.25 million and that is the value the City and Ikea counted on to work out their incentive package.  Changing the assessment will kill the incentive package which is a bigger problem that just raising the property value alone.

Back in 2013, Johnson wanted the value to be 3.4 million and the local and State boards said no, that 1.25 million was fair market value. Now Johnson says it's 5.1 million. She claims in the earlier CA article that the purchase price has nothing to do with the valuation, which it shouldn't. But If so, then how come her 3.4 million FMV just went up 50% in two years?   FMV is what the property would bring if Ikea walked away and the property went on the market today.  It's no surprise that the local board again voted unanimously to find FMV at 1.25 million and there's no reason to think the state board will do any differently than they did 2 years ago.  The only thing it will do is delay Ikea, maybe indefinitely. The earlier CA article says Johnson wants to talk settlement, but that means going back and renegotiating the whole deal with the City.

Not only could we lose revenue from sales tax and 175 new jobs, we have to pay the legal fees to make it happen.


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