In December, I heard the County Assessor’s Office was slammed under property owners’ requests for tax reassessments:

…Thousands of homeowners have applied for reductions in their property taxes due to falling values. …

Close to 13,500 county homeowners filed a formal appeal for a review of their property tax assessments between July 2 and Nov. 30, according to an initial count for the Assessor’s Office this week by the county’s Clerk of the Board office. That’s a sizable gain over the 3,300 requests filed in the entire year between July 2006 and June 2007. And the new appeals don’t count the 11,500 properties the staff already lowered taxes for preemptively because of dropping values before July, [Assistant County Assessor David] Butler said.

The influx continues, apparently. I chatted this morning with Jeff Olson, a colleague of Butler’s. The office has received 3,200 applications since Jan. 1.

“We’re getting about a hundred a day,” Olson said. “We’re anticipating receiving about 10,000 requests” before the May 30 deadline, which marks the end of the tax year.

I asked him if he expects to add another 10,000 in proactive reassessments to that number.

“Everything’s dependent on the market,” he said. “The more requests we have in hand, the less we’d have to be proactive about.”

He, like Butler in December, contrasted this slew of requests to the property value slowdown in the 1990s, when 200,000 properties were reduced in assessment. Even then, he said, the overall assessed property value at the county level grew and didn’t dip negative, he said.

“Last year our increase was 9.4 percent,” he said. “We’re expecting that to be down, maybe cut in half to the 4 or 5 percent. We’re not going into the red, it’s just a question of how far into the black we’ll be.”

Property taxes are an important revenue stream for municipalities, school districts and other government agencies.


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