Rising valuations raise concerns

SANDPOINT — Bonner County officials are holding question-and-answer sessions this month to address concerns stemming from rising ratings from some residents.

Bonner County residents began receiving notices of property appraisals earlier this month, prompting many to become alarmed at rising appraisal values ​​– for some reaching percentages in the triple digits.

“On average, the real estate of all those involved has increased by 50 to 100%,” said Bonn County Clerk Michael Rosedale on Tuesday.

A crowd of over 70 attended the first of three informative town halls hosted by Rosedale, Bonn County Assessor Donna Gow and Republican Assessor Candidate Grant Dorman.

The goal of these gatherings is to explain how estimated real estate values ​​affect an individual’s wealth taxes.

“We’re just trying to explain how [assessed values] Interplay with what your taxes will be. If your assessment doubles, that doesn’t mean your taxes will double. On average, it can’t go up more than 3%,” Rosedale said. “Some will rise more, others less.”

Under Idaho Law Title 63, tax districts may increase their annual budget by up to 3% over the previous year.

A tax district is an area in which a corporation has the authority to levy a tax. The purpose of district taxation is to ensure that necessary services receive adequate funding. Some examples of tax districts are the county, and fire, school, sewage, and hospital districts. All individuals live in more than one tax district.

An individual’s property taxes are calculated based on their respective district’s budgets divided by the number of taxpayers residing in the area.

Real estate values ​​simply determine how much of a share a person is responsible for—those who own more pay more in taxes.

Based on feedback at City Hall on Tuesday, many residents expressed concerns that their taxes will mimic the rise in property valuations. However, as Bonner County real estate values ​​as a whole rise, the tax hikes won’t rise as dramatically as estimated real estate values, Rosedale said.

“You can look at this like a cake. No matter how big the batter gets — those are our estimates, you only have one cup of sauce — that’s the tax we collect,” Rosedale said.

One participant asked how individuals could have a say in how their taxes are used, apart from voting.

“I have a steady income, okay,” the man said. “We, the people, used to have a place where we could voice our grievances. What can we do? Do we have a say other than the ballot box?”

“You do,” Rosedale said.

The case officer encouraged everyone to attend hearings in their respective tax districts. A person’s specific tax jurisdictions can be found on their property appraisal. Additionally, Rosedale encouraged people to attend the county’s budget hearings beginning July 18 and to contact their state legislatures regarding taxation.

Bonner County property owners have the opportunity to discuss their property values ​​directly with the Assessor’s Office prior to June 27, also known as the investigation period. This deadline is an alternative to appealing to the District Compensation Committee. After June 27, disputes over property valuation must appear before the Compensation Committee.

Contact information for all county officers can be found on the county website at BonnerCountyID.gov. A tax estimation calculator is available on the Treasurer’s Office website at bctreasurer-bcgisid.hub.arcgis.com

The next informal town hall meeting will be Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Athol Baptist Church. A virtual town hall will be held on June 21 at 12:00 p.m. on the Barbara Carpenter Show on 97.1.

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