• Reassessment Reality

    By Cameron Douglas

    Many property owners in Monterey County have received or will receive solicitations from private companies offering services to obtain a reduction in assessed property value. The private companies charge a fee for this, typically $100 or more.
    However, the County Tax Assessor’s Office performs this same service for free. The Assessor’s Office is required to assess real estate at its Proposition 13 indexed base year value, or its January First market value, whichever is less. If the market value of your property has declined below its indexed base year value, you will be assessed at that lower value – for no fee at all – when the Assessor finalizes the assessment roll in late June.
    In an interview with Cedar Street Times, Monterey County Assessor Stephen Vagnini stated that in Monterey County as a whole, he is projecting a five percent decline in assessed valuation. “It may even get worse than that,” Vagnini said.
    After ten years of steep increases in assessed property value, Vagnini predicts that this year more properties in Pacific Grove will get the reduction. He feels the reduced tax revenues in Monterey County will affect cities like Salinas and south county locales more than it will P.G. “For the city of Pacific Grove, I don’t think it’ll be that bad. But I think you’re looking at no growth, and possibly a small decline in assessed valuation.”
    The Times asked Mr. Vagnini how Prop. 13 determines the ways properties are reassessed. “Under Proposition 13, the only times a property is reassessed are when there’s a change in ownership or when there’s new construction.” There are different procedures for different situations, e.g., sibling transfer of ownership vs. parent-to-child, multiple property assessments and small vs. extensive remodeling projects.
    Taxpayers are encouraged to wait for their annual notification of assessed value to arrive in July or August before deciding whether to engage a third party to assist in challenging the assessment. Property owners wishing to contest their assessed value for 2009-2010 have from July 2, 2009 to November 30, 2009 to file an application with the Assessment Appeals Board.
    The County Assessor’s Office is a ready source of information. Call (831) 755-5035. You can also log on to the Assessor’s website for more information:  http://www.co.monterey.ca.us/assessor/

    posted to Cedar Street Times on April 24, 2009

    Topics: Current Edition, Front PG News, Cameron Douglas


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