Business First’s report last week that the large parking lot at 300 West Broadway has sold for $3 million to a Las Vegas company really should raise some eyebrows.
Why? Because that parcel is assessed by the Jefferson County Property Valuation Administrator at less than half the sale price.
This is important because all surface parking lots downtown are seriously undervalued by the PVA. Which means we’re making it far too easy for their current owners (many of whom don’t even live here) to settle for the relatively small income generated by parking instead of pursuing buyers -- buyers who would actually develop the spaces and fill in all the ugly gaps that make many parts of downtown seem like an ugly urban desert.
But development wouldn’t be the only benefit we’d realize from fairer valuations of downtown land. It would also mean more tax revenue. And because property taxes pay for so many critical institutions in our community -- like schools and libraries – all property owners have a responsibility to pay their fair share.
I call on the PVA to correct this situation by raising assessments on vacant downtown properties to fair and realistic levels as soon as possible -- or send a representative to explain here on Point of View exactly why they can’t.
I’m Bill Lamb and that’s my Point of View.