Anchorage residents who have significant damage to their homes from the Nov. 30 earthquake should consider appealing their property assessments, according to municipal officials.

Brent Schlosstein, deputy director of the Property Appraisal Division, said assessments mailed Wednesday to property owners may not be accurate since damage from the 7.0 earthquake wasn't taken into account. 

"This is the time to appeal your property [assessment] or to bring attention to things that we don't know about your property," he said. "If it's partially destroyed by an earthquake, then we need to adjust the value."

Schlosstein said homes that received structural damage from the quake may be eligible for a lower assessment, which means the owners would pay lower property taxes.

The city is already sending letters to about 300 owners of properties where municipal inspectors found serious damage. More owners may qualify, however, and Schlosstein urged them to contact the city. 

Cheree Burgan and her husband are among those who plan to appeal. The city appraised their Jewel Lake home higher this year, despite the fact that it sank 10 inches after the quake causing repair bills Burgan said could run up to $80,000. She said she's been so busy trying to line up bids to get repairs that she forgot about the tax bill.

"I hadn't even considered this municipality tax bill stuff because the house is definitely not worth what they've said it's worth on paper," Burgan said.

Schlosstein said people who wish to dispute their assessments need to file an appeal with the city by Feb. 14. Appeal forms can be found on the municipal website or picked up at City Hall.

Residents should document their damage, Schlosstein said, by providing an inspection report or bids on what it will cost to fix the damage. Paperwork will be accepted up till two weeks following the Feb. 14 deadline, although residents can ask for an extension.

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