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HomeNewsArchivesProsser Appraisal Sheds Light on V.I. Tax Assessments

Prosser Appraisal Sheds Light on V.I. Tax Assessments

Dec. 3, 2008 — The court-ordered appraisal of Jeffrey Prosser's mansion in Anna's Hope, St. Croix, coincidentally shed some light on the territory's property-tax assessment system.
Prosser is the former owner and CEO of Innovative Telephone, and the appraisal was done because his residence and other assets are subject to bankruptcy proceedings.
The detailed appraisal of the Prosser mansion resulted in an estimated sales value of $13.7 million. As part of the task of a commercial appraiser, Noreen Dunn, the St. Croix real-estate professional who had the assignment, noted the total government assessment of the property, as of tax year 2006, as $1.2 million. She also recorded that the property taxes for that year were $4,841.49.
Both the court-ordered commercial appraisal and the government assessment are supposed to reflect 100 percent of the true value of the property, but Dunn's appraisal showed that the property was worth about 11 times what the V.I. assessment showed.
Dunn had no comment on this discrepancy.
According to this publication's sources on the mainland, a $13.7 million house in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., would probably get taxed at around $130,000 a year, and the owner of one in the suburbs of New York would probably pay close to twice that much. But Prosser was charged less than $5,000 in 2006.
Dunn, again as part of the routine of a commercial appraisal, had to provide some information on the neighborhood of the Prosser property, on its geographical setting, and on the local government. Her comments on the latter were less than flattering.
"The territorial government employs nearly one third of the work force in the islands," she wrote. "It has resulted in an exasperating, unwieldy, unresponsive and difficult body to motivate action on any given issue, except pay increases or benefits for government employees. This huge island bureaucracy, coupled with a lack of accountability, has resulted in the territorial government accumulating a huge debt of $1.2 billion."
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