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Rising assessment values prompt concerns

by ANNISA KEITH
Staff Writer | June 16, 2022 1:00 AM

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SANDPOINT — Bonner County officials are holding question-and-answer sessions this month to address concerns stemming from soaring assessments for some residents.

Bonner County residents began receiving property assessment notices earlier this month, causing many to become alarmed at rising assessment values — for some reaching percentages in the triple digits.

“On the average, everybody’s properties have gone up 50-100%,” Bonner County Clerk Michael Rosedale said Tuesday.

A crowd of over 70 people attended the first of three informational town halls hosted by Rosedale, Bonner County Assessor Donna Gow, and Grant Dorman, the Republican candidate for assessor.

The objective of these gatherings is to explain how assessed property values affect an individual's property taxes.

“All we’re trying to do is explain how [assessed values] interplay with what your taxes are going to be. If your assessment doubles, that does not mean that your taxes are doubled. On the average, the most it can go up is 3%,” Rosedale said. “Some will go up more, some will go up less.”

According to Idaho Law Title 63, taxing districts are allowed to increase their yearly budget by up to 3% when compared to the previous year.

A taxing district is an area where an entity has the authority to impose a tax. The purpose of taxing districts is to ensure that necessary services receive adequate funding. Some examples of taxing districts include the county, and fire, school, sewer, and hospital districts. All individuals live within more than one taxing district.

An individual’s property taxes are calculated based on their respective districts’ budgets, divided by how many taxpayers live in the area.

Property values simply determine how much of a share an individual is responsible for — those who own more pay more in tax.

Based on the feedback at Tuesday’s town hall, many residents expressed concerns that their taxes will mimic the rise in property assessments. However, because Bonner County’s property values are rising as a whole, increases in taxes will not increase as drastically as assessed property values, Rosedale said.

“You can look at this like a pie. No matter how big the dough gets — that’s our assessed values, you only have a cup of sauce — that’s the tax that we collect,” Rosedale said.

One attendee asked how individuals can have a say in how their taxes are spent, other than voting.

“I got a fixed income, OK,” the man said. “Back in the day, we the people had a place we could go to air our grievances. What can we do? Do we have a say, other than the ballot box?”

“You do,” Rosedale said.

The clerk encouraged everyone to attend their respective taxing district hearings. An individual’s specific taxing districts can be found on their property assessment. In addition, Rosedale encouraged people to attend the county’s budget hearings, which begin July 18, and to contact their state legislators regarding taxing.

Bonner County property owners have a window of opportunity to discuss their property values directly with the Assessor’s Office before June 27, also called the inquiry period. This period of time is an alternative to appealing to the county’s Board of Equalization. After June 27, property assessment disputes will have to appear before the Board of Equalization.

Contact information for all county officials can be found on the county website at BonnerCountyID.gov. A tax estimation calculator is available at the Treasurer’s Office webpage at bctreasurer-bcgisid.hub.arcgis.com

The next informational town hall meeting will be held on Thursday at Athol Baptist Church at 6:30 p.m. A virtual town hall will take place on the Barbara Carpenter Show on 97.1 at noon on June 21.

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Photo by ANNISA KEITH

Bonner County Clerk Michael Rosedale draws graphs depicting the relation between the average rise in taxes and increasing property assessment values at Regeneration Calvary Chapel on Tuesday. Other informational town hall meetings will take place through the month of June.

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