The Swartz Report: Conferences, Commercial Property Valuation Dates and More!

The Swartz Report: Conferences, Commercial Property Valuation Dates and More!Railroad Equipment Finance Conference

Last year, Noelle Giacomino and I attended our first Railroad Equipment Finance conference.  As I noted last year, I was pleasantly surprised by the number of existing clients attending the conference and our chance to interact with many of them face to face. We will again be attending the conference and hopefully, we will not be making the “rookie” mistakes in our second year.

What sort of rookie mistakes could one make??? When attending a conference, I have learned it is always a good idea to review the attendee listing as far in advance as possible. This allows us to reach out to our clients or prospects; let them know we will be there and try to establish a plan to connect at the social events each evening or meet for lunch or dinner if possible.

Many we met last year had already committed to several evenings and with a little planning, we could have made better use of our evenings as well. It was still a great conference and we connected with many, but our hope this year is to make the event even better for connecting with friends, clients and prospects.

International Association of Defense Counsel Conference

This has been particularly true as I attend my wife’s Mid-Year Conference for the IADC (International Association of Defense Counsel). We have been attending this conference on and off for the past 20 years. When we review the listing of attendees and participate in the planned dinners and social networking events, it is always great to see familiar faces and catch up on life’s activities.

One can never underestimate the effect these social aspects have on your professional life. Being a spouse at these events has allowed me to meet legal counsel from all over the country; several of which I have engaged over the years to assist in significant property tax appeals. Having local legal counsel has, in most cases, defined our success with our clients.

Enough of the socializing – there is work to do!

Johnson County, KS released their 2024 valuations for commercial property with an appeal deadline of March 13th. Many values have remained flat or decreased slightly from the 2023 tax year. The question for many is whether this is accurately representing the marketplace. Many industries are still suffering from high vacancy issues and possible repurposing of the property.

How does this affect market value? It is a worthy question, but it is difficult to justify the current valuation in many cases.

We are knee deep in assisting/filing of business personal property declaration in many states, starting with MI filings due by February 20th to AR filings due at the end of May. Additionally, we are receiving our data for our annual railcar property tax filings and business will be at a peak from now until May 15th.

Let’s not forget what is truly important –

Finally, I want to take this opportunity to express my sincere sympathies to the victims of the senseless violence in the midst of a wonderful Kansas City celebration for the Chiefs Super Bowl victory. If you are inclined and wish to donate, please consider the following funds to support the families by visiting the following GoFundMe link:

https://www.gofundme.com/c/act/kansas-city-parade-help

Thank you for your continued support of Swartz and Indurante – let’s help support those in need.

As always, you can reach me at or . Thank you for reading! I would love to hear from you in the comments.

The Swartz Report: Introducing Keith Sherman

By Donald Swartz, President

Keith ShermanIn a previous blog, I mentioned the statement, “If you’re not moving forward, you are moving backward.

In the spirit of moving forward, I am very excited to announce the hiring of Keith Sherman to our Swartz & Associates, Inc. Team (SAI). Keith provides a local presence to our expanding SAI footprint in the state of TX and its bordering states. Prior to joining SAI, Keith spent 35+ years as a marketing/advertising executive across diverse industries including Real Estate, Manufacturing, Retail, Consumer Packaged Goods, Quick Service Restaurants, Travel and Tourism, Multi-Unit Franchise, Non-Profit, Telecommunications and more.

More importantly, Keith is a fellow Hawkeye and a big sports fan – can you tell if we have any similarities? 😊
I have known Keith for a long time, and we believe this is a great opportunity for both of us as we begin the process of expanding our presence in the Texas market.

Hoping to build on the success David Swartz brought to SAI this past year, Keith will offer the same attributes and business acumen to our company in his role of business development. Keith and David will be working together in the exchange of ideas and making sure SAI remains a relevant player in the review of property tax assessments.  My promise to them (and our clients) is that we will continue to provide excellent analysis, review and appeals experience with our staff and strategic partners. For the past 37 years, I have worked to earn our client’s trust, and I believe this is a major reason Keith decided to join the company.

Please join me in welcoming Keith to the SAI team. You may learn more Keith on our website and may reach him directly at .

In Other News

Although this is an “off year” in the re-assessment cycle for many states we handle properties (IA, MO, CO, etc.) there are many taxpayers who may have missed the deadline to appeal their respective valuations in 2023. In most situations, there will still be an opportunity to appeal these values for the 2024 tax year and at least attempt to ease your property tax burden until the 2025 re-assessment.

We’ve hardly finished with 2023 and I’m already discussing 2025??? Yes, indeed! As the real estate market continues to weave and bob, we are constantly assessing (no pun intended) the factors affecting real estate values and believe opportunities will continue to avail themselves in the current and upcoming valuations.

As always, I appreciate your commitment to reading my blogs – any and all feedback is greatly appreciated. You can reach me at or .

The Swartz Report: 100 Blog Posts!!!

By Donald Swartz, President

The Swartz Report: 100 Blog Posts!!! Well… we made it! This blog represents my 100th posting since becoming convinced to share anecdotes with you eight plus years ago by my friend and LinkedIn training wizard, Jason Terry. It took me a little over one year since the start of Swartz & Associates to dip my toes in the “blogging waters” but I am so pleased I’ve made the effort to share successes, thoughts, physical struggles, COVID struggles, road trips, adventures, and anything else to let you peek into a little of my life.

What a journey and what a joy!

I hope to continue to share my thoughts with you in the coming years and know when I think I need to “zig”, I will probably do a little bit of “zag”; when I become a little too business centric, time for a personal story; when I share successes, I will be cognizant of the challenges we continually face. Most importantly, I want you to read our stories because you enjoy the content and find them meaningful to you in some way. I am very appreciative of your comments and responses and have attempted to be informative (and a little entertaining??) these past years.

End of Year

As we wind down the year, I want to thank our clients for continually letting us represent your interests in the property tax world. Whether it is commercial real estate, business equipment or private railcars, I am constantly reminded how great my respective team members are in providing excellent service for you. The staff of Indurante and Swartz are unmatched in the level of experience, professionalism, and dedication to your holdings, and I take great pleasure in seeing them be successful.

2023 has been a tremendous year for both entities, and with the pipeline filling with ongoing appeals and new clients slated to come on board in 2024, I am very excited to share more successes (fingers crossed) throughout the year.

We can always be better

As they say, if you are not moving forward, you are moving backward. I will continue to strategically look at the big picture to determine what technology components can enhance our services. Will our employee base continue to grow, and will we expand into additional markets??? If the right opportunity presents itself, we cannot be afraid to explore options.

Don and David SwartzAdding David Swartz to the group was a strategic development that has paid off handsomely for us and our clients.  Adding Micah Niimoto to our Indurante team full time has given our employees a fresh way to look at the way we prepare and analyze.

Are there risks? Absolutely, but I would like to think they are calculated, and when weighing risk vs. reward, I would not hesitate to do the same again and again.

Happy holidays and Happy New Year to everyone!

We look forward to an outstanding 2024 and, as always, if you are interested in learning more about us, please reach out to me ( / ) or any of staff. We are here to help!

The Swartz Report: Interesting question… Are we the best?

Interesting question... Are we the best?By Donald Swartz, President

Recently, I met with a prospective client to discuss the aspects of handling their real estate portfolio. After engaging in the history of our company and listing of some of our clients who have similar portfolios, the prospect asked this follow up question, “Yes, but are you the best?”

The question caught me a little off guard, but only because it was posed as part of general conversation. It was not the “final question” or the climactic question to a series of questions. Rather more in line with, “how is your coffee?”

So, what is the answer?

Interesting question... Are we the best?This past week, I traveled to Las Vegas to have our planning meeting for the 2024 year with our Indurante group and then came back to Kansas City for our planning meeting with the Swartz employees. I decided this would be an excellent question to pose to each of the employee groups.

“Are we the best?” I casually inquired during the middle of each of our meetings as I was curious how everyone would respond.

Like me, collectively, they were surprised by the question and stumbled a little with their respective answers. “Well, of course we are!”, “who’s better?”, “excellent question… How did you answer?” were some of responses coming from all directions.

In short, my answer is, and will continue to be, we try to be the best we can be in representing our client’s interests. We are professional, ethical, transparent and try to be as communicative as possible to both our clients and County representatives or State governing officials we work with on a daily basis.

  • Are we the most aggressive company in our service industry? NO
  • Is our sole focus maximizing reductions without concern for the governmental entities? NO
  • Will we risk our reputation to benefit a very few? – NO

How do we define “the best”?

Interesting question... Are we the best?I believe our testimonials and client retention speak volumes to the work we provide. Our positive feedback from both clients and government officials also positively reflects on our work. I believe we have the best employees working in our respective companies and their years of service and commitment to the clients continually reinforces our mission.

I don’t know if we are the best, but we know how to take care of our clients ????

Speaking of planning meetings, chalk the 2023 meetings up to another successful series of days of positive and candid discussion to promote efficiency in our work place and continuing to provide value to our clients. Our discussions were somewhat different, as Indurante has a finite number of opportunities – there are only so many owners and managers of private railcars.

Contrast that with Swartz where the opportunity to represent owners of commercial/industrial properties and machinery/equipment is literally endless. At the end of the day, our companies are similar and our goals are the same. If we take care of our customers, the financial rewards will take care of themselves. The key is to ensure we are focused and taking care of the tasks at hand.

I will end this blog with how I started… Are we the best? Again, I believe our clients would say yes because they are happy and stay with us. If you aren’t a client, give us a chance to show you what we’re capable of doing for you! Feel free to reach out to me at or .

The Swartz Report: Celebrating 5 Years at Indurante & Associates, Inc.

By Donald Swartz, President

The Swartz Report: Celebrating 5 Years at Indurante & Associates, Inc.On September 17th, I will be celebrating the 5-year anniversary of the acquisition of Indurante & Associates, Inc. It’s truly incredible to believe it was almost seven years ago when I met with Pete Indurante to learn about his business and the potential compliment it would provide to the work Swartz & Associates, Inc. performs.

While change is always a little difficult, I believe the transition has been as smooth and seamless as I could have possibly hoped. Our core employee group of Noelle Giacomino, Kristen Canfield, Mark Philips and Emma Danielian remain with the company today, and it is truly their professionalism and dedication to the company that have made this what it is today.

That’s not to say the Indurante & Associates transition has not had its hiccups along the way…

Transitioning from a very simplistic paper system to becoming a virtually paperless company was a significant task. We’ve created a proprietary software program called Railmarx to further enhance our position as the recognized leader of property tax services to the railcar industry. (And there was the little car accident incident while taking an Uber to the office.)

These “highlights” have all had a significant impact on the development of Indurante. From the acquisition in 2018, to where it stands and competes today. Our client base has increased, our staff count has increased and the number of filings annually prepared has increased since the acquisition. Things are only looking brighter as we hope to secure two large fleets for the 2024 tax year and we will continue to enhance our Railmarx software to keep us executing in an efficient manner for our clients.

A big THANK YOU to everyone who has been a part of the Indurante journey – all my employees with Swartz and Indurante; our clients and the respective State departments we work with to ensure accuracy and timeliness. Your input has been invaluable as I continue to learn.

The Work Continues at Swartz & Associates

Let us not forget about our Swartz appeals in progress in IA, KS, MO, CO, PA and FL (to name a few of the states in which we operate.) This has been the busiest year on record for the number of properties reviewed, number of appeals filed and tax savings generated for our clients owning commercial/industrial real estate. Our business personal property compliance practice has increased as well. Gary Stone’s practice of independent fee appraisals for Machinery and Equipment continues to expand. I’m getting dizzy just writing about all these activities!

We will continue to serve and represent our clients in the manner they have learned to expect, and we look forward to a strong finish to 2023 and an active 2024 review.

As always, I am so appreciative of your business and the feedback you provide.
You can contact me at or .

The Swartz Report: Wichita in Summer? How Much Fun is That?!?

By Donald Swartz, President

Indurante Update

Wichita in the SummerYesterday, I returned from the annual Property Tax Conference in Wichita, KS. This was the 51st annual conference hosted by Wichita State University and attracts individuals from all over the country representing various State Assessor’s offices, Departments of Revenue, consultants, publicly held entities and everything in between.

The conference focuses on state and centrally assessed properties such as pipelines, utilities, telecommunications and railroads. This is a great opportunity for our Indurante office to interact with assessors and Revenue Directors face-to-face as opposed to the usual emails and phone calls. We can never underestimate the power of face-to-face interaction. There is a certain level of trust that continues to be reinforced when meeting at receptions, hospitality suites, dinner and organized evening activities. Now add in the educational content and it is easy to see why this conference is so well attended each year.

Wichita in SummerAdditionally, our company is a part of the Railway Supply Institute (RSI) Tax Committee. We carve out Tuesday afternoon during the conference to have our summer meeting. It is a fantastic way to for the major owners of private railcars to get updates on the various legislative initiatives concerning the rail industry as it relates to property tax and other tax matters. Combined, these members represent over 85% of all private railcars in use today. While several companies are considered competitors, it is refreshing to sit in a meeting to discuss issues and work together to benefit all. Clearly a takeaway we should never lose sight of.

Between this conference, the Railroad Equipment Finance Conference and the Railway Interchange Conference this fall, I believe Indurante thrives in its expertise concerning property tax valuations and continues to serve the best interests of our clients and the private railcar industry.

Swartz + Associates Update

Wichita in SummerOn the Swartz + Associates front, Jackson County has extended the deadline to appeal the 2023 valuations until July 31st. We anticipate having hundreds of appeals of commercial property parcels and this year. We have added residential properties (something we have not focused on in previous years) in an effort to support this underserved classification.

Typically, our industry does not review residential properties but we have made a concerted effort to make ourselves available to those seeking assistance in the residential community.

Wichita in SummerAs always, we are so appreciative of the support we receive from our clients and the referrals they provide. I am always pleased to hear the words that begin a conversation with, “I got your phone number from…” It is very rewarding and reinforces the work product we provide. THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

I would love to hear from you – please reach out directly to me at or .

The Swartz Report: Ducks on a Pond. Serene Above. Churning Below.

By Donald Swartz, President

Ducks on a Pond This past weekend,  my wife and attended a wedding in Winter Park, CO. During the brief time we were in the mountains, we were subjected to rain, snow, sunshine, wind, significant temperature swings and the all important tire pressure change from 40 lbs to 23 lbs in a matter of hours!

I mention these aspects because we knew these various possibilities may exist (okay – maybe the tire gauge pressure threw me for a loop????) and we were able to adapt to the current situations. Winds on the mountain summit for the ceremony? No problem, winter jackets in tow. Rain and snow as we strolled the area? Good thing we had our umbrellas. Sunscreen, lip balm, sunglasses, sweatshirts??? BINGO!

So, what does this have to do with Swartz and Indurante?

Ducks on a PondActually, there are many parallels. States moving from paper filings to electronic filings; appeal deadlines seemingly occurring every week whether they are county deadlines or deadlines to appeal decisions further to State Boards or Commissions; long tenured clients expanding their existing portfolios for us to review; and expanding our services to include residential reviews this year based upon 30-100% increases in their residential valuations.

The issues facing us in 2023 are unlike any we have seen in the past 15 years, but the underlying theme remains the same – we must have adaptability.

I am fortunate to have employees who have been with the two companies for several years and have the experience necessary to roll with variables and handle them swiftly and efficiently. Hopefully our clients view us as a duck on a pond. They have the confidence in our abilities to get their filings done accurately, ensure appeals are filed on time and most importantly, that we can deliver quality results, ultimately measured by minimizing their respective property tax liabilities. Our clients see this duck gliding smoothly on the water.

Underneath, I have the pleasure of watching the webbed feet churn – and churn we do! Constantly adapting to the present situations and deriving solutions to our client’s needs.

Ducks on a PondThe days are going to continue to race by as more deadlines approach. Rain or shine, we will be there to help!

Please contact us if you are concerned about any upcoming deadlines or how we can assist you and/or your company in the minimization of property tax valuations.  As always, please email me at or

Have a great summer.  We look forward to representing your interests.

The Swartz Report: NYC, Celebrating 9 Years and Filing Deadlines

NYC, Celebrating 9 Years and Filing DeadlinesToo often in our busy world, we get so caught up in our work activities, we can lose sight of the important things in our lives. In my previous blog, I mentioned several appeal deadlines we were working to complete for both the Indurante and Swartz companies.

New York City for Mother’s Day

Last week, my wife and I were able to get away for Mother’s Day weekend to visit our kids in NYC. Miriam is currently working in a 2-year fellowship with the New York/New Jersey Port Authority and Aaron is employed by Syracuse University in the Admissions Office. Although we were based on the Jersey side (as Miriam is living in Jersey City) it was unbelievable to me that our commute into the City was significantly shorter than my drive to the office! Jersey City and Hoboken offer spectacular views of the skyline and there is elbow room to spare.

If ever there was an opportunity to recharge the batteries, this was indeed the weekend. Perfect weather, great food, Ellis Island, spending time with our children and their friends – truly a reset in our work/life balance.

NYC, Celebrating 9 Years and Filing Deadlines NYC, Celebrating 9 Years and Filing Deadlines

Consider this blog a break from the ordinary as well!

It is very gratifying to visit your adult children and see them thriving in their professional capacity. This is especially true when they are long distances away and the chances to visit them on “their turf” are infrequent at best. To be able to have engaging conversations about a variety of topics is special, but knowing they still ask for our opinions on the way to handle/treat certain issues is particularly rewarding.

As parents, we will always be concerned about their well being and do whatever we can to help them succeed, but it is fun to watch them spread their wings independently.

But work/life balance does indeed have a work side… ????

NYC, Celebrating 9 Years and Filing Deadlines

Filing Deadlines

Iowa appeals are taking place as of this writing and will continue through the first week in June; KS informal results are just starting to come in; CO filing deadline has been pushed back to June 8th and we are still waiting for Jackson County, MO commercial values to be issued (July 10 deadline).

Railcar filings are almost complete with two remaining states to be filed and property tax bills due by April 30th have been all been submitted for payment. (I’m tired just thinking about this!)

Nine Year Anniversary of Swartz & Associates!

Enjoy the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. June 1st will mark the 9-year anniversary of Swartz & Associates. Talk about work/life balance??? Unbelievable!

As always, I appreciate your comments and thoughts – and  

The Swartz Report: Appeals Updates, Big Savings for a Client and Growing Our Pipeline

By Donald Swartz, President

Appeals Updates, Big Savings for a Client and Growing Our PipelineHappy Spring to everyone! If March comes in like a lion and out like a Lamb, how would one describe the property tax world in March and April (and May and June…)???

I would propose the following – IN like a Super Bowl Experience (very controlled but tens of thousands of people) and OUT like an NFL Draft experience (not so controlled AND hundreds of thousands of people.) ???? I feel this analogy is appropriate as a nod to our Kansas City Chiefs and a nod to Kansas City hosting the NFL draft in two weeks!

Appeals Updates

Appeals in Kansas are taking place this month; the appeal deadline in Iowa is the end of April; Missouri values are out with informal deadlines in May and the formal appeal deadlines in July; Colorado deadlines at the end of May.

Railcar state filings have been ongoing in March, through April and finally rolling to a stop (pun intended…) in Mid-May.

Whew! There is a lot happening with appeals right now.

I am very fortunate to have a great employee base dedicated to making things happen and I want to focus on two scenarios  – “out of the box” thinking and re-investing in yourself and your company.

Client Success Story: A $500,000 Refund

Noelle Giacomino reviewed a situation for a long time Indurante client. Last year, she was reviewing prior year’s assessments and something seemed out of line. After more research, she believed she had uncovered a situation where several railcars in Texas may have been duplicated in assessment. Counties had valued the same marked cars twice. Once, as owned cars and again, as leased cars.

Noelle had determined separate entities had reported the same cars to multiple jurisdictions. After discussing with our client, we were given permission to pursue potential refund opportunities. I will skip the details, but the issue was recently resolved and we were successful in achieving a refund of 2021 taxes paid to the tune of almost $500,000.

Noelle’s attention to detail, relationship with the client and “out of the box thinking” made this tremendous outcome possible.

Focus on Building Our Pipeline

As I mentioned previously, David Swartz joined the company in January. The idea being, David would be a great “connector” for increasing business relationships in the Des Moines market and beyond. I have not previously invested in a “business development” employee.

As analysts and technicians, our strengths are reviewing properties and understanding how to present our cases to the various jurisdictions. Securing new clients? Not really an organized strategy for us previously… Enter David, with a strategy to effectively reach out to contacts, and away we go!

David has secured several new clients in his 3+ months and we now have over $400,000,000 (and counting) in property values for review in new business. Shocking, surprising, exceeding expectations? YES, YES and YES! Now it is our turn as analysts to effectively represent our clients. I am confident we are up to the challenge.

As always, I appreciate your readership and comments – keep them coming!

If we can assist you in your property tax needs, please reach out to me.
or .
Thank you again for your continued support!

The Swartz Report: Name Recognition, Appeal Deadlines, March Madness and More!

By Donald Swartz, President

Name Recognition, Appeal Deadlines, March Madness and More!Earlier this month, my Director of the Indurante office and I attended the Rail Equipment Finance Conference in Palm Springs. This was our first time attending the event and it did not disappoint.

High level executives from all sectors of the rail industry were in attendance and the days were full of insightful information; networking opportunities and terrific receptions in the evening. While attendance exceeded 400 people, it was clear this group is a fairly tight fraternity with very few “degrees of separation”.

Indurante Name Recognition

Most interestingly to me was the fact that our company name (our brand identity) was well known among the conference attendees. In a business world of practicing and perfecting your “elevator speech” concerning your business, I was extremely surprised by the number of people who said, “Oh, Indurante? I know your services!” This occurred countless times over the conference and is a tremendous credit to Pete Indurante, who built the business with his years and years of experience and expertise.

Hopefully, I have picked up a few things over the 4 ½ years since purchasing the company. But make no mistake, the Indurante name carried a significant amount of weight during the conference. I am extremely proud of our employees, who continue to represent the name and service we provide with professionalism and tremendous efficiency. I am excited to attend next year and plan to make this an annual “must do”.

Name Recognition, Appeal Deadlines, March Madness and More!

Swinging into Spring

Name Recognition, Appeal Deadlines, March Madness and More!It’s that time of year and things are busy, busy, busy – Indurante is in the middle of filing season, preparing thousands of property tax declarations in the various states that private railcars are passing through.

On the Swartz side, the Kansas appeal deadline is rapidly approaching and the Iowa valuation notices will be out by the end of the month. As this is a reassessment year, taxpayers will have a very tight window to appeal the valuation of their property if they believe the value is excessive. Iowa taxpayers will have until May 1 to appeal their new valuations received with the next real opportunity to review in March of 2025! After Iowa, we roll right into Missouri, Colorado and Nebraska (not to mention all the other states we work where our clients own property.)

After 35+ years of being involved in this, one would think I’ve seen it all. Hardly! I am as anxious and excited as I have ever been. The dynamic changes occurring in the valuation world only add fuel to the fire and challenge the way we look at assessments and force us to broaden our horizons. We must continue to be thinking “outside the box” to assist our clients.

March Madness

Name Recognition, Appeal Deadlines, March Madness and More!Of course, adding to this “madness” is March Madness. As I go back and review my March blogs from previous years, there are two things that remain woefully consistent. My predictions about my Hawkeyes making it to the Sweet Sixteen and the reality that they don’t. ???? At least the Iowa women are in the round of 16 and they’ve been a joy to watch!

As always, I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you very much for taking the time to read this and please, do not hesitate to reach out as we are here for you! or .