County to refund $3 million total to more than 160 Gilroy homeowners who overpaid property taxes

GILROY, Calif. (KGO) -- Christmas came early for a family in Gilroy who overpaid their property taxes for more than 10 years, but they weren't the only ones.

Some residents in the Los Arroyos neighborhood of Gilroy received some relief Thursday.

"It's unreal. It took a long time, but it came about and it's an answer to a prayer," said Erin Cerdan, a Gilroy resident.

For more than a decade, Cerdan and her husband overpaid their taxes, because their property was over-assessed. They had purchased their home at below market rate and even assisted in the construction as part of a sweat equity program for low-income buyers.

"We worked in the rain, we worked in 106-degree weather on aluminum ladders when it was hot, sweat pouring down," Cerdan said.

The nonprofit agency coordinating the sale, as well as the city of Gilroy, never filed the proper paperwork with the county causing their home to be taxed at full market value. Cerdan discovered the discrepancy last spring when her mortgage bill went up. She alerted neighbors who might have been affected, and then went to the county.

"When I know that I'm right at something, I'll prove it," she said.

Cerdan got the documentation needed to prove her case and county assessor Larry Stone immediately sprang into action.

"When government makes a mistake, we have an obligation to make it right. It's not always easy to do that," Stone said.

Cerdan received a check for nearly $30,000, her refund, plus interest.

"I can't wait for all my neighbors to have the same feeling I have, and them to have their checks in their hand," she said.

A small portion of more than $3 million in refunds that will be distributed to more than 160 homeowners.
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