Comment history

Property Taxes 101 is in session

The State programs are very specialized at to what they cover. We still are processing new applications, but as to exactly the current requirements I would need a specialist in my office to answer your questions directly.

Send me an e-mail to and we can have a specialist on that particular program answer your questions.

In terms of my position on State exemption programs. These programs shift the tax burden to the mainly middle class home owner. I understand the need for them and some may be necessary, but I think it is unfair to be shifting the property tax burden to the average home owner in a subdivision. I hear people every day complaining about their property taxes and why should they not complain when they are actually paying their taxes and then some of the exempted portion of taxes on top of their own.

Add on top of that the government owned land. When the City of Vancouver bought the Columbian building the approximately $200K in property taxes didn't go away they we shifted out to the remaining taxpayers.

May 28, 2011 at 10:06 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Property Taxes 101 is in session

The issue is that the assessed value is of an earlier date. The assessments for this years taxes are appraised as of 1/1/2010 so about a year and a half ago.

Also if the land or property sells we can't just set the value to the selling price. This is chasing sales and not allowed.

I do often find it interesting to hear an appeal when someone is claiming that they are over assessed when they have the property listed for more than their assessed value. Better yet they bought it days before the effective date of the appraisal for more than the assessed value and yet still appeal and claim they over paid. Unfortunately it is not that uncommon.

May 28, 2011 at 9:42 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Property Taxes 101 is in session

David and I had a great conversation. As David and Lou can attest I will meet with anyone to discuss the issues and challenges.
I told David I would provide some follow up information. The first on the Bill I supported. It was supported by all 39 assessors and the issue of the charge came to light because I felt it was an issue when speaking to our lobbyist in a forum with the press. The Bill died in the Senate. Last month King County Assessor Lloyd Hara came to visit me to discuss the bill next year. I told him that I like the bill and it has many needed items in the bill, but in my opinion the Commercial charge for appealing would lose in the courts and was a no go with the people of Clark County. I told him that I felt we should go ahead after removing that part of the bill and see if the other parts of the bill fixed the challenges we are facing. If it included the charge again I would testify against the charge.

On the shortening of the time it was meant to be a discussion to be had with the County Commissioners. I had no idea that it would be read in public. Rookie mistake. My main point was that I want the appeals process to take less time so that people don't pay money to the government that they don't owe. I dislike any government holding money that belongs to the taxpayers. I am still hearing appeals and waiting on many decisions. To me that is unacceptable that people have paid money that to the county they may not owe. We are looking at other solutions to address the issues of the time it takes to answer appeals.

The issue of the computer system has been raised a number of times. I will go on the record here saying I have serious issues with the system and my office and the treasurers office are working to address the issues with the vendor. It is at a crucial time with the system and I have reached out to other counties with the system to help band together to ensure the challenges are addressed. The Deputy Treasurer and the head of GIS are working very hard with the vendor to ensure the taxpayers get what was paid for. I must also note that these issues are not that uncommon at this stage of any implementation and I have confidence in the people working with the vendor. The people working on our team with the system have done a great job and many counties are looking to us for leadership with the system.

My team is looking at how to be the most efficient and how we can best educate the public. David said that he would like to step up with and help that process. I welcome that as the more people understand the better we can address the issues together.

Government has to change how we do business, but we are forced to do it with in the confines of the State laws and regulations and the contracts and agreements we have with the unions and vendors.

May 28, 2011 at 8:22 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Property Taxes 101 is in session

E Terrific
There are Senior exemption programs that freeze the assessed value of low income senior homes. Which does bring up a good point is that there are many property tax exemptions and deferral programs implemented by the State that pass the property taxes over to those citizens not on the program. I would have to verify it with staff, but I think as many as 25% of propertieson Clark County are in some program.

May 28, 2011 at 2:27 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Property Taxes 101 is in session

Alleycat is boycotting because then who he is would have to come to light. A former temporary employee in the assessors office that was let go by the previous administration for cause. Who then I have heard tried to sue Clark County. I met with him during the election. He wants me to throw him red meat by tearing into the employees in the office regardless of what it would do to morale and production. Of course he doesn't care because last I heard he didn't even live in Clark County. He goes after my Chief Deputy even though she has all the skills he mentions, because I think he wanted the job.
I just did a national search for a new Appraisal Manager and I didn't see Alleycats resume. Alleycat is an ankle biter that will continue until he has to come to the light of day.

I will also note that we did go through Lou's tax bill and showed him where the figures came from and how they corresponded to his tax bill.

Alleycat aren't there enough issues in Beaverton?

May 28, 2011 at 1:56 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Property Taxes 101 is in session

First I want to say that it was an interesting process working with Lou on this story for the past couple weeks. I think Lou would agree is that it is a complicated system and you have to understand what we are actually looking at.

Jack is right. The assessments determine how the pie is going to be divided amongst the property owners, both real and personal. The taxing districts submit the budgets and our office divides that number by the total assessed value for the taxing district to obtain the levy rate. Value goes up levy rate goes down, values go down levy rate goes up. That is the way the property tax system works in Washington state. So when your value goes down and your taxes go down the money isn't coming out of the governments pockets it is coming out of your neighbors' pockets. It is always being shifted between taxpayers. The government gets its money assuming they haven't hit any levy limits. As Lou stated his tax increase is because this year he is paying a little more of the total pie and somewhere in the county some one is paying a little less of the pie.

In my many discussions with Lou and Doug Lasher on the subject Lou had many good points like he makes in this article. When the cost of gas increases for the government, we can take the 1% increase or levy new taxes, where the taxpayer can not.

There are no cost differences in appraising a home at $200K as it does at $150K. Times are tough and just like a private business, government must fundamentally change how it delivers service to taxpayers to try to hold the line on costs.
Everything we do in government has a cost to taxpayers.

As elected officials, we can either attack the cost drivers which always upsets some one or we can remain with the status quo. The status quo is leading to more and more expenses to our taxpayers. I know that for myself and my Chief Deputy we spend hours trying to determine not how we can hold the line on costs, but how we can deliver the services more efficiently for the taxpayers.

May 28, 2011 at 10:10 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

The Columbian Asks: Whom do you want to chat with?

I would like to address Alleycat's false charges.

Prior to election night, I had met my Chief Deputy once. She is not an old friend. I never met her before about June of 2010.

In the course of my campaign, I talked to a number of people that had worked in the office and ask them who would they thought would be the best. Bill Jameson suggested Linda and gave me her telephone number. He told me that she was the person that I needed to consider for the position. In about June of last year I met her for the first time and we talked for 2 hours. I talked to a number of people about the position and she was my best choice.

She had the qualifications I was looking for and she meets the qualifications of the job description posted by Alleycat. She had experience in the office as an appraiser, she worked in the private sector and her vision for the office matched up with my vision.
In the course of the campaign, I spoke to a number of former employees and when I told one that I was choosing Linda, they told me that I made the best choice for that position and it was long overdue.
My Chief Deputy has experience in the office, a well respected career as a project manager at Kaiser and has won awards for municipal budgeting.

Choosing Linda as my Chief Deputy is the best decision I have made as Assessor. She is helping me chart a path to providing the best service at the least cost to the taxpayers.

May 17, 2011 at 7:54 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

In our view: Boss = Taxpayers

Alleycat has my e-mail. He knows how to get a hold of me. He knows I will meet with him. No problem. My e-mail is

March 24, 2011 at 10:07 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

In our view: Boss = Taxpayers

Here is a link to the form.

March 24, 2011 at 9:12 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

In our view: Boss = Taxpayers

No problem. You want to reform anything you have to expect that you will be fought the entire way.

March 24, 2011 at 4:04 p.m. ( | suggest removal )