Friday, April 20, 2007

Property Taxes Going Up

County Assessor Beverly Breakstone is expecting many locals to be surprised at news they will soon receive about large increases in property taxes.

Breakstone presented a number of figures to the Summit Association of Realtors recently, explaining that the actual value of all real property in the county has increased since 2005 from $10.9 billion to $14.02 billion.

“The first misconception people have is that we appraise properties arbitrarily,” Breakstone said.

This is not the case, she explained. “We value fairly and uniformly.”

The 28.4 percent increase is mostly due to the amount of open space and government-owned land, according to Breakstone. Vacant land only makes up 6 percent of the county, while commercial property uses 7 percent. Plus, two-third of property owners do not live full time in the county, and only half of the second-home owners live in the state, a statistic often attributed to increased housing prices.

This year is a “reappraisal” year, Breakstone said, which is set by state statute, meaning the assessor will reappraise all parcels in the county. All notices of valuation will be sent out to all real property owners on May 1.

The residential property assessment value this year is 7.96 percent, while commercial, vacant and mining claims are at 29 percent.

Taxpayers can appeal the value throughout the month of May. Appeals must be done in writing and can be delivered in person, by mail, fax, e-mail and online.

Taxpayers can appeal the assessor’s determination by filing an appeal with the County Board of Equalization by July 15.

The assessor’s office analyzes the following data to determine the contributors of value: Inflation/deflation; location; size of land and structure; view; quality of construction; and special features.

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