Pin It
Favorite

Nuts & amp;amp; Bolts of Property Taxes 

by Dan Richardson


The Assessor's Office is responsible for setting assessments, the official values for properties, from an empty lot to the newest Wal-Mart. Those values determine how much people pay in property taxes to the county, a fire district or whatever.


Property taxes are a central pillar of local governments. They are the single largest source of revenue for city of Spokane, for example, and the way the city wants to pay for the proposed $50 million road bond coming up for a vote in March.


Here's how they're set: Local governments -- like, for example, the city of Spokane -- set an annual budget, including a portion of that budget supported by property taxes. The government turns over that number to the Spokane County Assessor, who then computes the tax rate by dividing the amount of money needed by the value of property inside the boundaries of the government seeking the money, explains John Sweetman, chief deputy assessor.


There are actually two kinds of values, one for general funds that includes all residential and commercial properties; and a second for special bond measures that subtracts exempt properties, like those of senior citizens.


Commercial properties are valued somewhat differently than residential, but both pay the same rates.


In the city of Spokane's case, the total value of property it contains is $8.922 billion, according to Sweetman. The city's 2002 general tax levy works out to $4.76 per $1,000 of assessed value, collected in halves in the coming year. It's expected to raise $26 million for the city this year.


An additional county levy runs about $1.50 per thousand.


"There are very, very few people in the state who really understand this, and that includes the (state) Department of Revenue," says Sweetman. "This is one of the few areas where explaining it is a full-time job."
  • Pin It

Latest in Comment

  • Beware, Be Ready
  • Beware, Be Ready

    Simple, sensible precautions can make all the difference when "the big one" hits
    • Jul 22, 2015
  • The Trumpenstein Monster
  • The Trumpenstein Monster

    Publisher's Note
    • Jul 22, 2015
  • Who Do You Trust?
  • Who Do You Trust?

    Republicans are howling about the Iran nuclear treaty, but after a century of bad advice, should we even listen?
    • Jul 22, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue
Moscow ArtWalk 2015

Moscow ArtWalk 2015 @ Downtown Moscow

Tuesdays, Thursdays, Sundays. Continues through Aug. 31

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Dan Richardson

  • Book Review

    Opening the pages of To America is like sitting beside Stephen Ambrose as he tells stories from his deathbed. Dying of lung cancer, he seems to be racing with mortality to inscribe a record of his life as a historian, as an American, and
    • Dec 9, 2002
  • Eyes on the Prize

    A new city means new government, and that means more news coverage, especially from print publications. The region's two newspaper titans are looking from their respective headquarters over to a potentially huge core of readers, advertis
    • Jul 31, 2002
  • Air to the Throne

    Some climbers approach the vertical plane with a grace and balance honed by years on the rock. Others flash through tricky sequences of moves with inborn talent. Lucas Morgan climbs with a bit of both. Morgan, of Spokane, is an up-an
    • Jul 18, 2002
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Patrolling While Black

    Gordon Grant's nearly 30 years as a Spokane cop have been affected by race, but that's not the whole story
    • Jul 8, 2015
  • Rushing's Rant

    The Airway Heights City Council has asked the mayor to resign after posting a racist Facebook message
    • Jul 15, 2015
  • More »

© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation