Property appraiser: Mobile home suit won't affect everyone

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VENICE--Some residents of the Bay Indies mobile home park fear they could soon be facing another tussle over taxes.

"Whatever happens in this court case, the residents are going to end up footing the bill," said resident Mike Rafferty.

Last March, the Sarasota County Value Adjustment Board decided the 2012 property values had been improperly calculated.

Now county property appraiser Bill Furst has filed suit against the community's parent company, seeking back taxes and penalties.

"There could be a domino effect, what happens here could happen in other counties in Florida, could happen in other counties across the country," said Pam Bournival, a representative from the National Manufactured Homeowners Association, an advocacy group.

Furst says that's just not true.

"It's definitely not the case," said Furst, "we had sixty mobile home parks in Sarasota county that we assessed all using the same assessment methods."

The value of mobile home communities is based on income stream. Furst says fourteen communities challenged last year's appraisals and the county came to agreements with them after they provided income and expense statements.

However, two refused to provide that information to county appraisers, one of which was Bay Indies.

"Right now we have two mobile home parks that we believe, because they refused to give us any information, are not fairly and equitably assessed," said Furst.

Bay Indies parent company is Equity Lifestyle Properties. When ABC7 called to get their side of the story, we were hung up on twice.

"What we're trying to accomplish is strictly to find out income and expense information from the parent company," said Furst, "if they give it to us an prove they're right, we go away, if they give it to us an we prove we're right, then their assessment is where it is."