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  • The San Juan Daily Star

Employee: CRIM putting odd elements in appraisals

Municipal Revenues Collection Center employee spokeswoman Cándida López

By John McPhaul

A Municipal Revenues Collection Center (CRIM) pilot appraisal system is including tents, wells, walls and cement decks in appraisals, employee spokeswoman Cándida López alleged on Thursday.

López said the controversy has to do with the implementation of a pilot project for the identification, registration and valuation of properties not registered in the CRIM. Originally, the employee said, CRIM started the pilot project with the Venezuelan company Orsys, which did not comply with the requirements. As a consequence, the agency contracted with another firm, RockSolid, to work with 360 CRIM employees.

The system takes an aerial photo of the property.

“After this company works on this project with a group of employees, most of whom are not appraisers, they pass the cases to the appraisers of the different regions, so that the appraisers can validate the information from that company,” López said in a radio interview. “That’s when we realize that they are appraising tents, canopies, cement floors, septic tanks, and wooden houses as if they were made of cement, doubling and tripling the value of the property. When the house has two floors or is more than 10 feet high, the system recognizes it as two housing units, even though there is a canopy below.”

“And not only that, they send a letter to the taxpayer, for example, dated May 3. The taxpayer receives it 10 days later. And they tell him that they have 30 days after the date of that letter to go to the CRIM,” she added. “They do not specify to the taxpayer what he has to bring to the agency when he goes. The taxpayer arrives at the offices, and we have to explain what is happening, because they do not understand. And we cannot deal with this, because not only are they creating chaos for taxpayers, they are creating chaos for the regional offices that have almost no employees and the offices are overcrowded and dealing with the mental health of the taxpayers.”

“We wrote a letter with a copy to the executive director and the board of directors explaining the situation with this project, warning them of the errors and horrors,” the spokeswoman said. “We asked that they evaluate it and take the time to correct these types of problems. But they did not listen to us; they decided to implement it and now it is the taxpayers who are paying the piper.”

CRIM Executive Director Reinaldo Paniagua Látimer said in a recent written statement that taxpayers who receive a change in their appraisal can request a review.

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