Appeals board is biased towards assessor’s office

February 17, 2015
Tom Bordonaro

Tom Bordonaro


Most people are unaware of the property Tax Appeals Board of San Luis Obispo County hearing procedures until they question their property’s assessed taxes. Their next step is to challenge the Assessor’s office of Tom Bordonaro Jr. This entails appeals board hearing, where it is stated early on that the burden of proof is on the assessor’s office to prove their case on the total market value of a home in a specific time period for their appraisal assessment.

The appeals board hearing consists of three people who are appointed by the SLO County Board of Supervisors to serve as a “fair” board in evaluating the dissatisfied property owners of their assessed property by a county appraiser.

These board members receive a stipend permitted by the county per hearing. Is this a conflict of interest? The county lost tax revenue during the years in which the housing market crashed. Is paying board members to render decisions favorable to the county one small way of making up for lost revenue?

I attended three hearings prior to my own. As an audience member, I witnessed the same board members deny all cases brought forth by property owners who were dissatisfied with the county appraisers’ over-assessed values of their properties, which resulted in the property owners having to pay higher property taxes. I can only determine after these hearings that the board members are biased towards the assessor’s office when rendering their decisions.

It appears that the Board’s protocol is to first let the property owners vent their facts and give the impression that they are really concerned about the property owners’ issues, though they are not. They then take their 15 to 20 minute coffee break after they have heard the property owner vent. This is to have the property owner think that they are actually considering the facts presented.

Apparently, the board members have a protocol in place, as they return with the
same decisions every time, denial of the property owner’s request to lower the tax assessment.

I think it is time to change protocol. Actually take into consideration the reason for the appeal, really look at and compare the facts presented instead of going solely off of a slanted county appraiser assessment and thus make it truly fair for the homeowner in doing so.

Noel C. Foerst has lived in Paso Robles since 1990. He is a retire CHP officer and the father of four, the grandfather of 13 and the great grandfather of one.



  1. mkaney says:

    Oh poor retired CHP officer, living off the money forcefully collected from other people, doesn’t think his assessment is fair. The irony is rich.

    (-1) 3 Total Votes - 1 up - 2 down
  2. Myself says:

    Here is one good reason that the county is missing millions of dollars in taxes,we allow these non profit groups to buy land and then sell it to the Fish and Wildlife,or the State Parks and it now comes off the tax rolls, most all the ground from Cayucos north on the west side of Hwy one is out of the tax rolls.,theres a few thousand acres there,the Hollister ranch between San Luis and Morro Bay is off the rolls,Blakesleys ex wife loves to buy property and put it in the hands of some useless state agency,millions and millions of dollars we are now not getting because of this.
    The “non” profit group that buys the land in the first place does make a profit when it sells the property to the state,we as the citizens of the county get a hosing again.

    (6) 8 Total Votes - 7 up - 1 down
  3. topper01 says:

    “From each according to their ability.” The nicer the house the more the taxes! “To each according to their needs.” All of Barry Soetoro’s undocumented democrats! Thank You, Karl Marx

    (6) 18 Total Votes - 12 up - 6 down
  4. NorthCountyGuy says:

    There isn’t a single local-government agency in SLO county that isn’t biased or corrupt.

    (13) 31 Total Votes - 22 up - 9 down
    • Extremely Stoic says:

      And you know that because you are part of it?

      (-7) 27 Total Votes - 10 up - 17 down
  5. Extremely Stoic says:

    Glad to see that Noel has many relatives and was a CHP, but doesn’t make his comments fact-based or even correct. Many of the appeals were by individuals who bought long ago, (1990?) and then saw regular 2% assessed value increases to to the market as a result of increased home values.
    When the real estate market tanked in 2008/2009, folks like Noel thought their taxes should go down, not realizing that their new assessed value was still way lower than the value the new market value due the drop in RE prices. The end result was that even though the marget went down, they still had tax increases. That is the way this tax law is written and restricts drastic tax increases when the RE makets soar.
    It would have been nice for Noel to explain this on the body of his letter, but then maybe he would have no complaint.

    (5) 25 Total Votes - 15 up - 10 down
  6. racket says:

    I have not been before the Appeals Board, but I have contested my assessed value at the administrative level, and found the staff to be fair, reasonable and educated. (That said, they did not give me a “break” on my assessed value).

    My conclusion, I guess, is different than yours. I concluded that the assessor’s office did a competent job in the first place of assessing value, and therefore did not have to “back up” just because I disagreed with their assumptions.

    (11) 21 Total Votes - 16 up - 5 down
    • racket says:


      I hate my property tax bill as much as the next guy.

      (14) 16 Total Votes - 15 up - 1 down
    • unlisted says:

      When the market crashed, I too appealed the assessed valuation on my home. I complained that my assessment was too high and provided three sales comparables to prove my point. County staff agreed that they assessed my home too high. Their revised assessment was actually a few thousand dollars lower than the amount I argued it should be.

      From my experience, the assessor’s office is open, fair and reasonable.

      (Unfortunately, my assessment and taxes went up substantially this year. I thought of appealing again, but after I searched for comparables, I concluded that my new assessment was correct.)

      (16) 20 Total Votes - 18 up - 2 down
  7. isoslo says:

    Most if not all California appeals are before appointed boards who are in the pocket of the government. The appeal is a set up to make things look fair. The moral of the story is that the government is in charge of whatever they want to be in charge of and you better not try to fight them, you will lose! Anyone who advocates more or bigger government is a fool!

    (2) 34 Total Votes - 18 up - 16 down
  8. LAWMAN1 says:

    I would be willing to bet that if you looked at the assessed value of Tom Bordonaro Jr. current ranch property value it would be less then market value and also his staffs property. It’s public record.

    (-1) 27 Total Votes - 13 up - 14 down
    • taxpayer says:

      Wow, what a stretch! Anyone who purchased property years ago has a much lower assessed value than market value. Assessed value and market value are two different things. It looks like the Assessor’s Office is doing a good job. No one likes paying taxes but get real.

      (11) 19 Total Votes - 15 up - 4 down

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