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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of June 12 - 18, 2002

  Opinion Columns

Assessment notices and your taxes

Guest opinion by VALDI PACE
Blaine County assessor

The 2002 Assessment Notices are in the mail, and by now you should have received yours. Many of you will see an increase in your assessed value(s). The assessor is mandated by state law; [ID Code §63-314 (1)] to assess property at current market value, the assessed value is as of January 1, 2002. We are basing your 2002 assessed values on sales of properties that occurred prior to this date. As you may or may not know Idaho is a non-disclosure state. Therefore, we get our sales information by way of a Sales Verification letter that we send to the new buyer of a property requesting this information. We get between a 30% to 35% return on these letters.

Twenty percent (20%) of Blaine County property is field (physically) inspected and appraised each year. At the end of five (5) years 100% of Blaine County should have been physically inspected and re-appraised. After the 20% is inspected and appraised the remaining 80% of Blaine County property is trended (indexed) based on the sales information we have. This is applicable unless there is a change in the property, such as a remodel, or a sale of the property, then it is physically looked at and appraised accordingly. The trend is applied if there is enough information available to complete a sales analysis, which supports the trend. This is a way of bringing properties in line with the current marketplace. Blaine County had not trended prior to 1998, therefore there were large increases in values at the end of a 5-year re-appraisal cycle. Please keep that in mind when you are looking at your assessment notice, as there are still properties that may have not had an increase in 5 years.

We’ve had many calls our first week since the notices went out. We welcome your calls, and even though there is such a small window to appeal your property value, by 5:00 p.m. June 24, 2002, we are making a concerted effort to handle the calls in a timely manner. Keep in mind that there are approximately 19,000 parcels of taxable property in Blaine County, errors can and do occur. We appraise property by way of "Mass Appraisal," not individual property appraisals.

Please look at your notice and ask yourself if you could sell your property for at least what it is assessed for. If the answer is "yes," then we have done the job that we are supposed to do. If you have evidence, such as market sales information or an appraisal that you have recently gotten from a fee appraiser, please don’t hesitate to call my office and arrange to share your information with us.

The 2001 assessed value and the 2001 taxes are listed on your notice. Also listed are your "estimated" taxes for the year 2002. Please note; the 2002 taxes are an "estimate" only, as the taxing districts have not yet set their budgets. The dates of their budget hearings and their telephone numbers are on your assessment notice. Please get involved in these budget processes, as this is where your tax dollars are going. As the values increase in Blaine County, as they steadily have in the past several years, then the mill levies typically go down. So, if you have not had an increase in your value, your taxes are likely to go down. The levy is set after the budget hearings sometime in August or September but prior to October 1.

Approximately a few weeks ago, you received your "Tax" reminder notice from the Treasurer, Vicki Dick. This was the reminder that the second (last) half of your 2001 taxes are due by June 20, 2002. You will be notified in November of the first half of your 2002 taxes, which will not be due until approximately December 20, 2002.


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