This past year, property owners across American had a big shock when the real estate bubble popped and home values dropped 25 to 40 percent or more. We had several years of strong growth in value, but that appreciation disappeared. The high number of foreclosures and homes on the market suggest the decline isn't over yet.
Now property owners in Long Beach and Seaview have received another big shock, this time from the county assessor. We had our properties re-assessed this year based on last year's peak value, which was not only substantially higher than the last assessment four years ago, but also substantially higher than the current value of our property in today's market.
When re-assessment of one quarter of the property in the county happens every four years, some inequality is bound to occur. And in normal periods of gradual growth in property values, that disadvantage gets balanced out. But when a sudden, sharp decline in property value occurs, as we have just had, this inequality may not entirely disappear with the next assessment.
It is reported that the county will move to an annual assessment cycle in a few years, and the problem of equal assessment should be eliminated. But is it fair and equitable for the Long Beach/Seaview 25 percent of the county to be paying 30 percent or more of the total property taxes for the next few years because we had the unfortunate timing of being the last section re-assessed before the real estate bubble popped?
I am in favor of paying a fair tax, but not unfair and unequal taxation. Property owners need to appeal their assessments. Bruce Walker, Pacific County assessor, has agreed to meet with interested property owners to discuss the impact of the 2009 re-assessments. The meeting will be held at the Pacific County building located at 7013 Sandridge Rd. on Thursday, Sept 10 at 6 p.m.