Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - September 1, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Ii2& The Cedar Rapids Gazette: Sap., Sept I, 1974
Fairness Is Tax Revision Goal: Piersall
Bv Mike Deuprer
Although an upcoming tom Mon in tho valuation of Cedar Rapids residences will almost certainly result in higher taxes for most homeowners. City Assessor Dale Piersall says that isn t the reason for the revision
The revision, he explains, is to make sure the increases are fair
That there will he increases is almost as sure as death and, well, taxes
“I'd almost bet a month's salary on it.” Piersall told the city conference hoard last week
• • •
WHAT HE was almost willing to bet on is that the state department of revenue will order him to increase the valuation of residences to
reflect the soaring prices iii today’s housing market The order will he issued in 1975 and go into effect in 1976, which means ain change in valuation will show up first in ( , ... .
' City Hall Notes
tho tax hills homeowners pay in September, 1977 The fact that 1975 is a year in which a valuation change may Im’ ordered is not a surprise; the state code specifies that 1971 and each succeeding fourth year is sn designated.
What is a surprise, though, is the amazing jump in housing values since the last full-fledged revaluation in 1972 \t that time each residence was inspected, inside and out,
and a valuation assigned It was assumed the valuation would he accurate, with minor
changes, for many years In less than two it has become obsolete.
“We were right then, at the moment, but we’re not right now ” Pierson said
The problem, as anyone who has tried to buy a house recently well knows, is that inflation and a housing shortage in <’(‘dar Rapids have sent prices zooming in the last two years
Since ‘Se state code requires assessors to assign a fair market value to each home as a basis for taxation, that means taxes aren't keep mg pace with the changes in the housing market.
(Taxes are paid on the basis of the taxable valuation or assessed valuation, which is 27
percent of fair market value \fter tan I taxes will Ive paid on the full fair market value, as the legislature has eliminated the 27 percent figure in order to simplify procedures Mill rates and other factors will be reduced accordingly so the change won t alter the amount of money each homeowner pays Assessed valuation and market value art' used interchangeably in this store I.
Begins Sept. 29
College Course in Gazette
“In Search of the American Dream”, a college credit course that can tie taken by reading lectures each Sunday in The Gazette will begin Sept 29
The course will consist of 19 lectures, written by internationally known scholars, and the lectures will be published on 18 consecutive Sundays in section A of The Gazette.
This is the second such course The Gazette has offered. The first. America and the Future of Man" was carried last fall and winter A iota! of 41 persons enrolled in that course for credit from the University of Iowa
In the introductory lecture for this year’s course, Robert C. Elliott lays the groundwork for the fo< us of the course: the persistence—for gin*! or bad —of the utopian spirit that
animated this country 's beginnings
Robert Penn Warren will conclude the series with two lectures comparing the shaping of America’s history to our current times
Readers can participate in this learning experience in one of three ways
1 Read the articles for pleasure and information
2 Monitor the course for personal study by purchasing the supplementary reader
3. Take the course for college credit To do this obtain your copy of the American Dream Reader ;$4 59) and American Dream Study Guide ($2 50) (these, along with the articles clipped from The Gazette will serve as your text)
Persons interested either in enrolling or in receiving addi
tional information about the course can confact the following: Instructional Services.
(109, Fast Hall. University of Iowa, Iowa City, la . 52242
Those who do enroll for credit will be required to attend two on-campus sessions —one at the course s halfway point, ihe other at the end
The supplementary match als can he ordered bv mail from The New American Library. Inc., PO Box 999, Bergenfield, N .1..07021 Those ordering should send name and address, a check or money order for materials ordered plus 25 cents per copy for handling and mailing costs The Reader is $4 50 and the Study Guide $2 50
The Courses bv New spaller program was developed by University Extension Univer sity of California at San Diego,
and funded bv the National Endowment for the Humanities with additional support from the Exxon Education foundation The course is distributed by the Copley News scrv ice
Elliott, who will open the series, is a professor of English literature at the University of California. San Diego Warren, who will close it, is an author and professor emeritus of English at Yale
Other lecturers will include Dr Winthrop Jordan, professor of history . University of California, Berkeley; Dr. Michael Barnmen, professor of American history. Cornell university; Dr William Goetzmann, Stiles professor of American studies. I nivei.uty of Texas, and Dr Jay Martin, professor of English and comparative literature. University of California. Irvine
Plan U.S. Hearing Aid Rules
Bv Michael J. ( onion
WASHINGTON (UPI) -The government is about to crack down on the 1150-mil-lion-a-year hearing aid industry, a move that consumers and some segments of the business world believe is long overdue Dr. Alexander Schmidt, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, told UPI his agency will develop regulations covering the manufacture, fitting, use and labeling of hearing aids, and perhaps will provide for some form of medical prescription At the same time. the Federal Trade Commission is considering a rule that would require hearing aid dealers to offer customers a 49-day. money-back guarantee and possibly impose restrictions on advertising
As many as 29 million Americans suffer some degree of hearing loss An estimated •00.000 hearing aids. which can cost 1309 or more apiece, j are sold every year Senator Percy (H ill ) who wears one. says the retail price ranges as high as two and a half times more than the wholesale cost Citing letters from mostly elderly connu i liers who claimed they were victimized by fast-talking salesmen and shoddy merchandise-, Percy wants the FT)A to tighten its standards for diagnosis and treatment of hearing prob-
His Vacation Hardly That
I/ONDON (UPI) — American business man Frank Olafsson flew home to recover from his vacation He took a taxi to the airport and mistakenly paid the driver double the far** leaving the lib he tripped over a curb, ripped his pants and gashed his knee Discovering h« had arrived at the wrong terminal, Olafsson raced to another to catch his flight. He lost Waiting in the terminal, his duty-free bottle of whisky fell through its hag and smashed on the floor
“I don't think London is my lucky city,” he said before boarding another flight “A part from everything else it seems to have rained since I got here ”
lems. and to issue regulations requiring prior medical examination or prescription before hearing aids are dispensed
Typical of the more than 250 letters Percy has handed the UDA and FTE was one from a woman in Bantam. Conn , who wrote;
( lever Salesman
My father was sold two hearing aids bv an unscrupulous hut clever salesman who even accompanied urn father to the hank while he drew out nearly all of his meager savings
"Now my father has two hearing aids, one for each ear, but has found (hem of little or no help in understanding conversations These have cost him $789 and he has no guarantee or warranty of any kind
I write this only to verify your own feeling that price gouging floes occur arid that hearing aids often cost much too much, for those who need
them most are often least able to afford them”
The FDA’s Schmidt "aid in an interview he believed that all hut any fringe outfit really would welcome a wise regulatory program that would get it out from under the onus of t'harlatamsm that has been laid on the industry somewhat unfairly.
Asked if he thought putting hearing aids on a prescript ion-onlv Imisis was the answer. Schmidt replied
“When you use the word prescription you put yourself in a Nix, because most people think of an M I) writing rn Latin in a ritualistic formalistic, legalistic meaning to the word.
“lf you're asking do I think hearing aids should be pre scribed in that sense I d say no If you’re asking should hearing aids in some wav be specifically ordered for specif-ie conditions. I’d sa’, vex And
in the generic sense they should bo prescribed, just as you take an antacid for Heartburn. ”
Schmidt said “well-trained audiometric technicians, the knowledgeable lay audiologist. should Ii*- prescribing" rather than doctors, who would have neither the time nor interest.
John Fralick, Washington representative for the National Hearing Aid Society which represents 3.609 specialists and dealers of the perhaps 15.-♦KHI persons involved in the industry. agreed with Schmidt.
"It’s an area subject to abuse, there s no doubt about It” he said “We have really welcomed the FTE and F’DA getting into this area We feel that anv kind of law that will benefit the majority of our people, fEat will get to the roots of the problem — people abusing good selling techniques — will find favor ” lie- said the ETE staff proposal for 30-day refunds “will hit the fly-bv night operators **
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THE QUESTION Piersall is faced wuh is figuring how dose his estimate has to be for the real market value of the house “Every assessor I talk to in the state of Iowa has the same problem,’’ he said "We are all left with the impression thai if you were very far off . you may as well start to do something about it. or they (the state department of revenue) will come in and do it for you
“When you sci- $25,(MHI houses selling for $.33,(MMI or $34,* (MN), there s just no question about it. the state is not going to let us get by with it.” he continued
“It s either going to tie done or the state’s going to do if for us, it gets right down to that “If we do it, I think we can do a better job ”
The revision of valuations thai will he started soon is being done to make sure changes are as fair as possible. Not all houses in (he city have appreciated at the same rate, and some have depre vialed
lf no revision is made, all homes would have to Im- treated the same when the state's order is issued, lf the state tells Piersall to increase the total valuation in Cedar Rapids by 15 percent, each house wt>uld have to be increased by that amount if there was no way to tell how actual values have changed “What’s right in Cedar Hills may not he right for Applewood Mesa," Piersall said What Piersall plans to make the changes more equitable isn t a full revaluation • ••,
INSTEAD DF- inspecting each house, inside and out, an appraisal company will go through records on house sales, comparing the prices actually paid for homes in the various areas of the city with the assigned valuation That will provide a basis for th** changes, but more is involved than merely cheeking on sale prices "After we've pretty well established what we’re going to do, we make thai final cheek." Piersall said The final cheek is a drive-by of each house to sec if the new
valuation seems fair It could be adjusted upward if. for example, a central air eondi tinning unit has been added and not reported, or a garage built without a building permit It could conceivably in- adjusted downward if an existing garage had burned down or shade trees had been cut down “Flack one of these has to he an individual decision." Piersall said Does the* drive by check mean a person who maintains his property well will he penalized by a higher valua-lion’.’ Piersall says his philosophy is to look beyond a now coat of paint
These things do affect the market value hut you can't look at that alone, you have- to look deeper than that." he said
Piersall expects the review to begin late- this fall and last at least a year “Most of our work iii connection with this is administrative." he said. "I don’t even know if we can he ready bv 197k, ifs that involved,
tllllOW ISO. "
• • •
BHAT IF the review isnt completed by Jan I, 1976
when the expected state order takes effect0 If that happens, Piersall said. the* increase
demanded by the- state will probably he applied across the hoard for a year, until figures based on the- review can be implemented to make the changes fairer And what if the state* orders an increase that is greater than local studies show it
"lf the order comes out, there s no quibbling about it — you can fight it. but you
can’t win." he- said, mentioning Dubuque as an example Thai city increased its valuation last year, but was ordered by the- state* to add another ll) percent in the- same year. Piersall said
h there* any way to avoid the increase* in valuation order?
"Unless we go into a decline of the economy, and I mean a serious decline, I don't see* any way we can avoid it." Piersall said
“And rtobiMh wants that”
Air Pollution Chart
Phis is a weekly report of data submitted lo The Gazette by the* air pollution control division of Ihe Linn county health department
A measurement of particulate matter in terms of micrograms per cubic meter Ihe national standards, to he enforced bv 1975, 75. average for a year (geometric mean), and 260 maximum 24 hour concentration, not to be exceeded more* than once a year
I .neat ion
Noel ridge park 445 First street SVN Jane Boyd Community House Twenty-eighth street drive and First avenue* SF'.
The partic le’s at Noelridge park were of the following size in microns: Kl 3 percent. 7 «»r metre*; 26 7 percent, 3 3 lei 7. 15 I percent. 2 1 to 3 3, 17 5 percent, I I tei 2.2. and .37 3 percent less than I I
Smaller partic les are* said to be* more likely to ge*t deeper into the* lungs ane! be* more* cause* fetr concern about health
The natmnal standard (in terms of parts per million) 0.0.3 average* for a year (arithmetic* mean) and 0 14 maximum 24-hetur concentration, nett tit Im* exceeded more than once a year Daily averages at 445 First street SU were Aug 23. II 919. Aug 24, 0 919; Aug 25. 9 9,37; Aug 26. (I 025; Aug 27 0.0.018; Aug 28, 0 012; Aug 29. I) 913. Week average*. (I 020
Daily averages at Twenty-eighth stre*e*t cirl vc* were Aug
23, 0 INI5; Aug 24. II (MIK, Aug 25, 9 IMCL Aug 26 ll 1)22; Aug 27. 9 013; Aug. 28. 9 IMI7; Aug. 29. 9 995 Week average, 0 009.
Coefficient of Haze
Another measurement of particulate matter A reading of 0.53 is said to be equivalent of 75 micrograms lier cubic meter, a natnmal standard for airborne dust as outlined above
Re*adings at 445 F'irst street SU were Aug 23. 0 07; Aug
24, ll 04; Aug. 25. 0 09; Aug 26. I) 95; Aug 27, 9 09 Week average, 0.07.
Readings at Twenty-eighth street drive* SE, were Aug. 23, ll IO; Aug, 24. 9 16; Aug 25, ll 17; Aug. 26. 0 31 Aug 27. 0 22; Aug 28, 0.15; Aug 29, 0 26 Week average. 9.20
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