Soaring tax bill crushing Oak Lawn shoe repair shop

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by DAVID SCHECHTER

Bio | Email | Follow: @davidschechter

WFAA

Posted on August 5, 2013 at 5:07 PM

Updated Monday, Aug 5 at 5:33 PM

Nicko's Shoe Repair

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DALLAS — The hot real estate market in North Texas is good if you're looking to sell, but maybe not so great if you're looking to stay.

That's what is happening to businesses on Lemmon Avenue in Dallas’ Oak Lawn neighborhood, where taxes have soared about 40 percent.

The Dallas Central Appraisal District says two recent sales in that area are forcing the taxes up.

Nicko Panous, owner of Nicko's Shoe Repair, said the increase is unfair considering his property is a frequent target of crime and shows no signs of increasing in value.

Recently, a robber severely beat him, leaving him bleeding on the floor.

"Then he grabbed the register and he threw the register on my head," Panous said.

Several sets of locks were destroyed by burglars, he said. Panous has gone so far as to install nails on his outside railings to help keep criminals away.

"It's like you have a cow: You have the steak, the good part," Panous said. "And you have the tail. The tail is not worth anything. Here, where we are is the tail of the cow."

The Dallas Central Appraisal District says all commercial retail property taxes are up along Lemmon Avenue, from about $40 a square foot to $60.

The assessment on the shoe repair shop is up 37 percent. Will that force Panous to close?

"Probably yes," he said.

This year, commercial retail property values in Dallas County generally are up seven percent, far lower than the huge spike along Lemmon Avenue.

Panous said he plans to sue Dallas County over its decision to raise his taxes.

E-mail dschechter@wfaa.com

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