Valley Falls Manor Hosts Tax Dispute, Rare Court Appeal

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Jan. 6, 2014 12:00 am  

A property tax dispute between the Pulaski County assessor and Steve and Missy Wortman has developed into a serial debate. County officials and the Wortmans can’t even agree on the size of the monster house in question, which has been the subject of controversy before.

The county places the square footage at 14,500 SF, while a survey by the Wortmans calculates the figure at 12,200 SF.

The Pulaski County Assessor’s Office revalued the house and land in the gated Valley Falls Estates neighborhood at $3.2 million this year.

The Pulaski County judge affirmed that appraisal despite the owners’ contention that the property is worth $2.2 million.

The difference between the two numbers represents about $13,200 in annual property taxes.

The Wortmans took their case to the county judge after first appealing it to the Pulaski County Board of Equalization.

The disagreement takes on an added mathematical twist because the 3-acre residential spread is listed for sale at $4.2 million.

The asking price includes about $250,000 worth of furnishings.

Steve Wortman, president of Little Rock’s Kaufman Lumber Co., couldn’t be reached for comment.

During the appeals process, the Wortmans have opted not to attend any of the meetings in person. Their representative has been Little Rock attorney Dick Downing.

“I think the assessor’s office staff believed that it was time to adjust the value of the house, and they were simply unwilling to hear anything to counter their position,” Downing said.

He said the county’s valuation started just shy of $3.1 million when it was before the board of equalization and increased it to $3.2 million after that.



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