Property values rose in 2001

Island County homeowners found out last week how much the Island County Assessor believes their homes are worth.

Re-evaluation notices showed up in mailboxes starting last Wednesday. The notices are the basis on which property taxes are calculated.

Countywide, property values rose 7 percent over those used to calculate the 2001 taxes. Island County Assessor Tom Baenen said this does not mean all property values will rise a uniform 7 percent. Some properties will be worth more this year, some less and some the same. Increases could be small or large, depending on the housing market in a particular area. And as of right now, none of the values are cast in stone.

"All the figures are contingent on closing the roll," Baenen said.

Clinton area resident Mindy Thompson is one of the property owners who saw the value of her property increase more than 7 percent. One property she owns doubled in value between the 2000 and 2001 re-evaluation notices.

In cases such as Thompson's, property owners may petition the county's board of equalization to ask for a lower valuation. Property owners may also arrange to meet with a county appraiser to make their cases.

Thompson said she will look into having her property value reduced.

In all, Baenen said the total assessed value of taxable real and personal property in Island County for 2001 is $6,975,694,181. The largest share of that property is on South Whidbey. Within the borders of the South Whidbey School District, property owners have about $2.11 billion invested in their homes, land and other property. By comparison, the Oak Harbor School District encompasses $1.91 billion in property. The Stanwood-Camano district has a slightly lower value at about $1.6 billion, while the Coupeville School District holds about $1.01 billion in property.

The increases in property values are up in spite of a drop in the amount of new construction this year. The $132,539,972 in new construction in 2001 is about $18.5 million less than last year.

Property tax rates will be applied to the new property values for the 2002 tax year. On South Whidbey, the total property tax is approximately $10.50 for every $1,000 of property value.

To arrange a meeting with an appraiser, call the assessor's office at 321-5111. Meetings are limited to 20 minutes.

Appeals to the board of equalization must be filed within 30 days of the Nov. 28 mailing date of the re-evaluation notice.

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