More than 200 properties in Dubuque County could see a massive spike in their assessed values, thanks to new orders from the state.

The Iowa Department of Revenue Aug. 20 released its tentative equalization adjustments for multi-residential properties outside of major metro areas. In Dubuque County, that would mean a 43% increase in the 2019 assessed values of properties such as nursing homes, apartment buildings and mobile home parks located in Dubuque County outside of the city of Dubuque.

County Assessor Dave Kubik said state officials established the increase based on a computer assessment model. However, details on the variables used have not yet been released.

“This is something I still don’t understand, how they came up with the 43%,” he said.

The county has more than 200 parcels that are considered fully or partially multi-residential, Kubik said, adding that “property owners are the ones who will be taking the brunt of it” through a corresponding increase in property taxes.

“I’m afraid that a 43% increase is going to create substantially reduced income,” he said. “They’re bought and sold on their ability to produce income. This assessment could reduce the market value of these properties.”

Jeff Ehlers, of Ehlers Property Management, owns apartments near Dyersville, Iowa. He said such an increase would “definitely” impact his business.

“If it goes up 43%, that definitely means I’d have to increase rent because my property taxes would keep going up,” he said. “You either have to raise it or absorb it, and I don’t think people would want to absorb it.”

Such an increase would challenge landlords trying to offer housing opportunities with competitive prices, he said.

“We’re trying to keep housing affordable, but it’s tough,” he said.

Kubik will go before state officials on Sept. 11 to appeal Dubuque County’s increase.

Delaware County has the highest multi-residential assessment increase in the state at 106%.

County Assessor Dan Lett said he will argue against that increase in a meeting with the Iowa Department of Revenue next month.

“We’re appealing, and (we will) see what we can do and see what happens,” he said.