The mission of the County Assessor is to inspect, appraise and value all property in the county as well as calculate property tax levies.
Both valuation and taxation must be equitable.
The valuation of property must be equitable so that each property that is taxed is valued at an amount appropriated and fair compared to other properties. All property in Washington State is taxable unless specifically exempted and the County Assessor is required to calculate and manages the exemptions on the property. There are over 100 exemptions to property tax. Many of those exemptions are granted by the State Department of Revenue.
Taxation must be equitable so that no district receives more money than allowed by law and also no less than allowed by those same laws. Several different limits impact those levies and each one comes into play in different scenarios. For example, a district may request only 1% more than their highest lawful levy plus any additions due to New Construction or New State Assessed Utilities. Another limit is based on the district's tax base and limits the district to a maximum dollar amount.
All property in the County must be inspected at least once every six years. Sales of property and New Construction require additional inspections as soon as possible after completion. Every six years the county must present an inspection cycle to the State Department of Revenue for approval. The most recent approved Inspection Cycles were approved in 2020 and started in 2021.
Property in Washington state is valued at the highest and best use as of January 1st of the assessment year for taxes collected in the following year. Property Assessed in 2022 will be based on a January 1st valuation for taxes collected in 2023. The value placed on a property should be the price it would most likely sell for in an open transaction. Whether the property is for sale or not does not change the requirement that the appraisal is based on the most likely sale price.
While the property tax for districts is limited, the valuation of property is not because we must adhere to the current market. When the market is increasing, values go up. When the market decreases, values go down.
It is a simple truth that most people do not like the idea of taxes. However, the services provided by those taxes are necessary and desired: Well built schools, well-provided for education, adequate and effective police and sheriff departments, responsive fire protection, rapid emergency services, road maintenance and improvements, City and County services, and more. Property tax is how the majority of those services are funded
Most Taxing districts are authorized no more than a 1% increase over the total dollar amount they collected plus an increase for New Buildings and improvements based on what those buildings and improvements would have paid if they existed the previous year. The Assessors job is to determine the appropriate tax base after accounting for exemptions, property sales, and applicable laws and then determine the allowable tax levy for each taxing district and each tax levy. The amounts are limited in several ways and the Assessor must make sure that each district is authorized to collect only the amount they are allowed. No More and No Less.
I plan to continue serving the county while increasing our efficiency and transparency. The Assessors office has made huge strides in making sure the public has access to all the information we have as well as being open to the public for any questions. Customer service is our priority and we strive to make sure that customers do get the information they need or at the very least the correct location for getting their questions asked.
The transparency of the Current Assessors office and the primary focus on Customer Service will not change with me because I have been a part of ensuring it happens and believe strongly in it myself. I am very happy to serve the public and am hoping for your vote so that I may continue to do so. If there is anything I can help you with, please let me know.