Local property assessments skyrocket

Tyler
Tyler Clarke
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Bracing himself for a flood of concerned phone calls, city finance director Joe Day is doing his best to quell the public’s incoming concern about property reassessments. 

City finance director Joe Day, with the 2013 notice of assessment that’s being mailed out to every Prince Albert property owner this week. 

Bracing himself for a flood of concerned phone calls, city finance director Joe Day is doing his best to quell the public’s incoming concern about property reassessments.

With the majority of residential properties almost doubling in assessed value, he expects to see residents fearful that their tax rates will double in accordance.

Not the case, he explained during a press conference in advance of this week’s mailing out of about 12,000 reassessment notices.  

“Your assessment values are going up to catch up with market trends, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that your taxes are going up following suit,” he explained.

“Be prepared to see a big (assessment) increase, but also be aware that … you’re probably not going to see a big tax change.”

The typical residential property assessment increase ranges from 75 per cent to 110 per cent, with the average increase resting at 92 per cent.

Those seeing a 92 per cent increase will see their tax rate unchanged by the reassessment, with those within the 75 to 110 range seeing “modest” changes, Day explained.

This is all in addition to whatever additional changes the city’s elected officials and province make to this year’s rates.

The provincial government mandates that municipalities update property assessment values every four years.

The city last updated its property values in 2009, using 2006 market values. This time around, market values from 2010 are being used.

“Real estate prices shot up considerably over that period of time,” Day said. “That’s what your assessment values are going to represent.”

The city’s elected officials are expected to adjust mill rates accordingly, with the reassessment not a means of pulling more money from taxpayers.

Be prepared to see a big (assessment) increase, but also be aware that … you’re probably not going to see a big tax change. City finance director Joe Day

Residential properties that will see the largest assessment increase will be “starter homes,” Day said.

“We’ve been seeing that those entry-level homes … really came up in value between 2006 and 2010 at a greater rate than some other homes did,” he explained, adding that these property owners should see a “modest” tax increase this year.

During the reassessment of 2009, the city’s newer homes increased in value the greatest. The city’s older homes caught up with the assessment value increase in time for the 2010 market data being used for this year’s reassessment.

Owners of condominiums units are in the same boat as those owning newer homes, Day said, with these owners facing a modest tax decrease this year.

When it comes to commercial properties, the assessment value changes vary drastically, Day said.

Another variable when it comes to the assessed value of properties is improvements made to a property, Day said.

“If you build a garage at the end of the year in 2012 and this is the first year it’s being assessed in 2013 … your increase will be larger than the typical range, but there’s an explanation for that.”

Those dissatisfied with their property value reassessment are able to file an assessment appeal before April 15, with the assessment office fielding concerns or questions at 953-4320.

Final property tax bills will be mailed in May, reflecting properties’ reassessed value and whatever additional changes politicians settle on. 

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