Why The Orange County Property Appraiser’s Race Is More Important Than Ever
Citing the millions of dollars in property assessments that are overturned annually by the Value Adjustment Board, Rick Singh, Democratic Candidate for Orange County Property Appraiser, believes this is happening because his opponent and incumbent, Bill Donegan, is not a qualifier appraiser and lacks the experience to competently perform the job.
Singh, who has over a dozen years’ experience as a State Certified Appraiser in private practice as well as, several years of government experience, made these observations earlier this week in an exclusive interview with West Orlando News Online, while noting that Donegan was appointed over a decade ago, during the Gov. Jeb Bush administration.
“We (Orange County) have approximately $91 billion worth of assets…. and Special Masters, put there by the Value Adjustment Board, have been overturning these assessments at a rate of $100 million-a-year, since this current property appraiser, Mr. Donegan has been in office for the past 11 years,” Singh said. He believes that such rejections of property values are way outside of what’s normal and that the time has come for a “Property Appraiser that is qualified to deal with the appraisal issues of the day.”
According to Singh, because his opponent is not a State Certified Appraiser and has never appraised a single home, his property valuations are not accepted by major lending institutions. “A true test for a qualified property appraiser comes when institutions like, Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac, all major banks and all credit unions…. accept your opinion of values,” he said.
Singh is also concerned too that, even when taxpayers prevail against the Property Appraiser’s Office in court, they have no rights to claim attorneys’ fees, an issue his opponent has lobbied on and fought. He adds that, nobody is advocating for the little guy and he wants to be the property appraiser for everybody.
“This current property appraiser is fighting vigorously against small families, against the middle class, against the small business person, to keep it that way,” he said. ”And I think it stems from incompetence because, that $100 million-a-year will translate into a lot of attorneys’ fees that the Property Appraiser’s Office would have to pay because of incompetence.”
Singh, who says he has conducted thousands of property appraisals, also discussed a range of other issues, including protecting seniors, while ensuring they are not taxed out of their homes; fair and equitable property assessments and community outreach programs to solicit input, aimed at advancing the Orange County Property Appraiser’s Office into a new era.