Ridgefield resident Virginia Roberts was expecting her property taxes to go up this year. After all, they’re going up everywhere.
But when she saw her bill for $4,139.68 — a nearly 30 percent increase from last year — for her and her husband’s three-bedroom ranch home, she was taken aback.
“All of a sudden it’s a thousand dollars we have to figure out how to come up with,” Roberts said. “That’s quite a chunk.”
Property owners in Clark County and around the state experienced sticker shock on seeing this year’s tax statements, which included considerable spikes from last year’s bills due to increasing property values, voter-approved initiatives and the new state schools levy approved by the Legislature last year. The first half of property tax bills is due today.
The Columbian recently ran a reader survey asking homeowners about changes in their property tax bills from 2017 to 2018. Some among the 50 verifiable responses said the increases posed no new hardships, or otherwise said their adjustments would be minimal.
But others described the increases as “painful,” shared fears that they may have to move out of the area in the coming years or expressed frustration that their limited Social Security income does not cover the cost of living in Clark County.
Roberts was among those who were frustrated, writing that a “30 percent tax increase can’t be planned for.”
“A thousand dollars, that to me is just way out of line,” she said in an interview with the Columbian.
Despite this year’s inflated tax bills, relief is coming next year, county officials and state legislators say.
“The biggest concern obviously is why, and basically, is this the new normal,” Clark County Assessor Peter Van Nortwick said. “The good news is the answer is ‘No.’ ”