Sandra Hoover Diefenderfer

By Mike DiCicco

Great Falls residents, citizens association question county officials on real estate assessments.

Last year (2009), Sandra Diefenderfer’s home assessment jumped by 125 percent.

“We had to make some real lifestyle changes to come up with another $20,000 in real estate taxes,” she said. She appealed the decision to the county’s Board of Equalization of Real Estate Assessments, but the board found that the house had been undervalued for the last 15 years.

All of this, she said, was the result of the sale of one house in her neighborhood. She said she thought an extenuating personal circumstance, such as the long-term undervaluation of a house and the resulting, unexpected jump in taxes, should be taken into account by the county’s assessors.

Diefenderfer was one of a crowd of Great Falls residents that packed the Grange on Tuesday, March 10 to talk with Fairfax County Department of Tax Administration Director Kevin Greenlief and Supervisor John Foust (D-Dranesville) about real estate assessments.

“There seems to be some consternation in this community about real estate assessments and how they are assessed,” said Robb Watters, who sat on a panel of Great Falls Citizens Association members that questioned Greenlief and Foust on the matter.

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