Recent news coverage has prompted some questions about the Real Salt Lake stadium’s taxable value, so here is a quick primer on the process.
When a property owner wishes to dispute the taxable value of their property, they first file a request for appeal with the BOE. In their appeal, the property owner submits information about the property, which is forwarded to the Assessor’s office. The Assessor’s office then evaluates all the relevant factors for which they have data. That analysis, along with the new taxable value amount (if there’s a change) is presented to the BOE in a public meeting, where it is voted upon.
If the property owner is unhappy with the result of that vote, they can appeal that decision to the Utah State Tax Commission.
I first began serving on the County Council in 2014, a couple years after the Real Salt Lake issue was addressed by the BOE. After hearing about it, I had some questions of my own about our process and the Council’s involvement, and have been doing my own research.
It is my understanding that all the proper processes were followed for the Real Stadium. When the assessor initially declared the value, it was based on Real’s projected building costs. (When large, new projects come on, there is usually no data to use except the actual construction costs.)
After three years, an appeal was filed by Real. To establish a value, the Assessor uses three different approaches - cost (less depreciation), income, and sales of comparable properties. There were no comparable sales (since there aren’t many soccer stadiums in the near vicinity or surrounding states). The basic land value and building costs were used and reconciled to the income produced by the property. This analysis resulted in an assessment of $52 million. While this is a significant decrease from the prior assessment, it is supported by the facts relating to the stadium.
Even though I wasn’t on the council when this was approved, after doing my own research on this, I feel confident in the ability of the assessor’s office and the market valuation process they followed.