Letter to the Editor

What is your dream worth?

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Does $1,320 an inch sound about right? That is what the letter from Stephanie Sohn, the assessor informed me a month ago. Up 20% from last year.

Since I was 10 years old, I dreamed of having a home on West Okoboji Lake. I am one of the lucky ones whose dream came true. But that dream is becoming more impossible each year as many owners are being displaced from the market by wealthy buyers who line up at realtors' offices with suitcases full of cash.

A small group of long-time owners is being persuaded to sell their properties by increasing property taxes on unrealistic values established by aggressive buyers. The average lakefront home is held for 25 years or more, but eventually owners give in to temptation. There were only 39 sales in 2018 out of approximately 1,000 properties.

The Assessor is tasked with determining "fair market value," implying willing sellers and buyers. But this market is not a fair market. It is biased by the owners giving up to the wishes of those with more wealth. Grandma and Grandpa can no longer afford to hang on, and the dream dies.

We've all noticed to shift toward wealth in the Iowa Great Lakes, and much of it is good. But I hate to see dreams die.

If you want to fight this, take the effort to file a petition of protest before June 5th. Get the forms at dickinsoncountyiowa.org/assessor-board-of-review.

Gary Jones

Dickinson County