Qualified sales for the first six months of 2007 were 298; for the first six months of 2006 it was 372. The number of residential sales has slowed in 2007 but the average sales price has increased from $136,407 in 2006 to $157,508 in 2007. The majority of the sales have taken place in the Long Beach Peninsula area but other parts of the county are showing increased activity also.
We are currently doing inspections and revaluing the north part of the county from Raymond east to the county line and that part of the Long Beach Peninsula between Sandridge and the Highway, south of Joe Johns Road and north of Cranberry. The sales we used for revaluation are mainly from 2005 and 2006 since by law we have to value the properties as of Jan. 1, 2007 for 2008 taxes. We monitor the 2007 sales to double check our values. Revaluation notices will be mailed out in October, which is the earliest they have been mailed in over 15 years.
I will have the sales lists we used for this year's "reval" areas at the Auditor/Assessor booth at the Pacific County Fair in Menlo. There will also be some information available on how we do mass appraisal. I will be there Friday and Saturday evenings to answer any question. I'm sorry but in spite of hundreds of requests there will be no "Assessor Dunk Tank" or pie throw at this year's fair. I am planning on having forums in both ends of the county around the time reval notices are mailed to answer any questions and clear up any misconceptions about the property tax system.
The Weyerhaeuser Mill saga continues. As you might recall we requested an advisory appraisal from the State Dept. of Revenue on the Raymond mill. Most counties outside of the Puget Sound Area have the state do the industrial appraisals since most rural counties have only one or two industrial properties and don't and shouldn't keep an industrial appraiser on staff to be used once every four years. Weyerhaeuser appealed their value to the state Board of Tax Appeals which upheld the value we put on the mill. As is their right by law, Weyerhaeuser has filed a court case in Lewis County Superior Court over the value. The State's advisory appraisal, which we used was approx $31 million for the real property alone which is what is in contention. Weyerhaeuser's appeal to the Board of Tax Appeals stated that they thought the value should be $25 million. Before the board heard the case Weyerhaeuser hired an appraiser who said the value was $11.5 million which is the figure and appraisal to be used in the court case. In 1988 the value on the tax rolls was around $11 million, in 1996 after another advisory appraisal by the state the value was around $18 million where it stayed for 8 years until 2004. I have been talking to Weyerhaeuser's property tax division and hopefully we can come to a solution before the trial.
The Department of Revenue recently did an audit of our calculations of the excess levies. These are the voted on bonds and levies; mainly the new school bonds and school M & O levies. No errors were found and no corrections were needed in our process which is mainly due to the efforts of Becky Nissell my chief deputy. The office was also chosen by the Department as one of two in the entire state for best practice in organizing and tracking property sales data. The Department uses this as an example to other assessor offices in the state on how to best do this job. The process we use was set up by Loni Hooper my chief appraiser. These two along with the rest of the office staff work very hard to accomplish the goal of every assessor's office which is fairness.
Along with my staff here are some budget figures I'm really proud of: 2003 (first year in office) $4,303.00 under budget; 2004 $21,969 under budget; 2005 $30,175 under budget; 2006 $31,753 under budget. I'm pretty sure we will be under budget for 2007 also.
Please stop by at the fair and get the sales lists and other information about the Pacific County Assessor's Office.