This leads to uniformity among properties. How is it fair under the current system when one group of properties is paying property taxes based upon an assessed value that was recently updated based upon comparable sales within their area while others within the County are paying on assessed values that may be three or four years old and may not reflect current market value?
Taxing districts are still restrained by I-747 which limits the increase in their property tax budget to not exceed 1% more than they collected in the prior year plus increases generated from new construction built within their district plus increases in State assessed values within their district. Voted upon property tax measures are outside the 1% limitation and can have a far greater impact on the amount of taxes that you pay.
Taking a look at property values annually helps eliminate the sometimes huge spikes in value increases that occur when property is revalued every fourth year. Large increases in assessed values typically lead to large increases in property taxes. This is due to the shift that occurs when only a portion of values are adjusted to reflect market value while others are paying on three or four year old values as well as the fact that some areas within a revaluation area have experienced greater market appreciation due to their location in relation to other areas of the revaluation area.
In 1998, the office had 17 employees including the Assessor and there were about 40,000 real property parcels within Okanogan County. Currently we have 13 employees and 52,271 real property parcels. So we have had a 24% reduction in staff while the County parcel count has grown by 24%. If the County parcel count continues to increase, and it will, I may have to add an employee to help with the increased workload. Under an annual revaluation system, only 1/6 of the county (approximately 9,000 parcels) are required to be physically inspected while the remaining 5/6 of the County will be statistically updated.
Two critical components of an annual revaluation cycle are to have a computer assisted mass appraisal process in place as well as a digital parcel layer for the County. Okanogan County has invested money over the past years to create both. These are critically important tools to have in an annual process.
Okanogan County Assessor
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