Assessing Department

Annual Assessment Revaluation – January 1, 2019

 

Taxable property located within the borough has been valued and assessment notices were mailed March 15th.  The taxbase marginally increased to $1.10 B, an increase of $4.2M (0.4%) this year which breaks out to a net increase in real property value of $9.5M (0.1%), offset by a decrease of $5.3M (-9.2%) in personal property. 

 

This year’s valuation numbers indicate a significant slowing in the real property gains due to non-market factors such as limited staffing resources in 2018, a larger than normal increase in senior exemptions, and challenges with CAMA software issues. These factors, when combined with a larger than normal decrease in personal property, made any gains in the overall assessed valuation minimal and not necessarily reflective of observed market increases.

 

The real estate market overall was observed to have increased by an estimated 5%-10% during 2018, and this observation is supported by the 12% increase in the average single-family residential sale price from $378,400 in 2018, to $425,100. Sales volume also increased from 91 sales in 2018 to 125 sales in 2018, a 37% increase. Real property sales during 2018 were strong, particularly in homes priced below $500,000.

 

The most significant factor offsetting real property assessed value gains this year was the loss of one-third of the department’s staff for one-fourth of the year; staffing turnover affected the total output achievable by a substantial amount. In addition, the number of qualified Senior-Citizen and Disabled-Veteran Exemption applicants increased substantially over the prior year. Significant software issues related to the new MARS CAMA system, were also a significant impact on the department’s achievable output. Equally offsetting was a larger than normal decrease in personal property values.  Decreases in personal property happen from time to time when large construction projects in the economy end, such as after the construction of Blue Lake was completed and equipment was significantly removed from the borough, or when market commerce and general activity drops overall.  Last year’s drop in personal property valuation levels is most likely indicative of some market downturn in business activity.

 

Real property gains did include an estimated $8.5M in overall private sector new construction, which breaks down into a $2.6M increase in commercial and a $4.6M increase in residential value. Marijuana cultivation new construction was the driving force in 2018, but in 2018 marijuana cultivation tenant improvements were more of the norm. Therefore, there were no large gains in commercial new construction this past year.

 

The average residential value increase for this revaluation year was $38,700 per property, which amounts to about 9% of market value on the single-family average sales price of $425,100. The primary reason for this year’s increase in value is due to the fact that most of the properties being revalued have not changed value since 2003 when the last area wide revaluation took place.

 

 

The full Assessment Revaluation Report 2019 can be viewed here

 

LEGAL NOTICE

COMPLETION OF ASSESSMENT ROLLS

NOTICE OF MAILING

 

The City and Borough of Sitka hereby announces that the 2019 Property Assessments have been completed and mailed March 15, 2019.  Every owner of real or personal business property should receive an assessment notice indicating the 2019 values.  It is the duty of every person owning property in the City & Borough of Sitka to advise the Assessor of any errors or omissions observed in the assessment of the property.

The property owner has thirty (30) days from the mailing of notices in which to appeal the 2018 values to the Assessor.  If relief from an alleged error in valuation is not adjusted by the Assessor to the taxpayer’s satisfaction, the appellant may appeal to the Board of Equalization.

The Board of Equalization will meet at the Harrigan Centennial Hall at 6:00 p.m. May 6, 2018. Appeals to the Board must be filed directly and in writing to the Assessor no later than 4:00 p.m. Monday April 16, 2018.

Forms for appeal to the Board of Equalization are available at www.cityofsitka.com on the assessing department page, under forms, or from the Assessor at 100 Lincoln Street, room 108.

 

 

Senior-Citizen, Disabled-Veteran Property Tax Exemption Program Audit

October 2018 – September 2019

 

Sitka’s property taxbase has steadily increased from 1-3% annually, but increases have historically been offset by increases in exemptions afforded by the Senior-Citizen/Disabled-Veteran Property Tax Exemption (SCDVPTE) Program. Proper administration of Sitka’s property tax base, the most stable portion of the General Fund Budget generating approximately 25% of general fund revenue supporting schools, roads, and other community infrastructure, includes adherence to both valuation and exemption eligibility laws and standards. It is the responsibility of the local Assessor to enforce compliance with those laws and standards.

 

Program eligibility in Sitka continues to rise due to Sitka’s larger than average senior population, due to the aging nature of the overall population, and due to the increasing number of veterans exiting service with a disability. Eligible applicant counts are expected to increase at a rate of about 6% per year. In 2012 there were 480 participants, and in 2019 over 625 applicants are expected, comprising 25% of the estimated 2,500 total residential structures in Sitka. This will exempt approximately $500,000 in tax revenue in the upcoming fiscal year. Auditing of the program, by the local Assessor, will continue in accordance to the established criteria.

 

The current audit of the Senior-Citizen/Disabled-Veteran Property Tax Exemption Program is required by both state and local law, and is guided in practice by the Standard on Procedural Issues for the Application of the Senior Citizen/Disabled Veteran/Widow-Widower Property Tax Exemption Program in Accordance with ALASKA STATUTE 29.45.030(e)-(i), a best-practices standard developed by the Alaska Association of Assessing Officers (AAAO).  You may find more detailed information on the audit program and FAQ’s by following these links: SCDVPTE FAQ's or SCDVPTE Program Details

 

 

2019 Senior-Citizen/Disabled-Veteran Property Tax Exemption Audit Timeline

 

October 1, 2018 - December 14, 2018  

 

    - Audit Program Begins

      - Reapplications must be completed prior to December 14, 2018

      - Property inspection must be completed prior to December 14, 2018

      - Monthly residency verification site visits begin

 

December 14, 2018

 

      - Reapplication deadline for audited participants

 

January 15, 2019

     

      - Assessor's 2019 Senior-Citizen/Disabled Veteran Property Tax

        Exemption Determination Letters will be mailed

      - Appeals of Assessor's Determination must be filed with the Alaska

        Superior Court within 30 days of this notification (SGC 4.12.025(I))

 

February 15, 2019

 

      - Deadline for submission of new applications for the 2019 Senior-Citizen/

        Disabled-Veteran Property Tax Exemptions will be granted and declared

        According to local, state audit guidelines

 

                                        Assessing News
                     Real and Personal Property Inspections

                             

State and local law require real and personal property to be regularly inspected for annual taxation purposes.  In order to meet this mandate and revalue over 4,800 properties annually the Assessing Department divides the borough into six sections for reinspection each year.

 

The Assessing Department strives to clearly communicate the current area of inspection and duties while there.  The department inspects properties year-round with a goal of inspecting at least 700 properties each year. Please note, Alaska Statute 29.45.130 grants the department legal authority to inspect real and personal property for taxation purposes, within reasonable times throughout the day. As a practice we will be inspecting properties generally from 9:00am to 5:00pm daily Monday through Friday.  Please ask for this letter of introduction if you encounter our appraisers on your property; it outlines the authority to inspect and identifies the appraiser for your security. 

 

Our standard protocol is to notify the area of inspection through public website announcements, conduct an initial knock on the door when onsite, and then proceed with an inspection unless asked to leave.  If asked to leave the property, the appraiser will value the property to the best of their ability from the street; any inaccuracies as a result are the responsibility of the owner to correct during the informal appeal period of March 15th to April 15th.  If you have questions or concerns about Assessing staff being on your property, please contact this office to discuss.

 

Current Area of Inspection

 

This year’s area of reinspection is generally the north-end of Halibut Point Road and island properties.

 

Forms and Downloads:

 

Frequently Asked Questions:

 

Frequently Asked Questions about the Assessing process

F.A.Q.'s Brochure

Links of Interest

 

 

The Assessing department is responsible for assessing the value of all properties within the City and Borough of Sitka boundaries; and administers all State and Borough exemptions as set forth in State Statutes and Borough Code. The department also maintains property record information, which includes ownership, address, assessed value, and legal property descriptions.

 

Assessing has two primary missions:

  1. Administer a property assessment that is fair, uniform, and equitable by employing the following seven procedures:
    1. Locate and identify all taxable property within the Sitka Borough
    2. Inventory the quantity, quality and important characteristics of all taxable property
    3. Accurately estimate the market value of each taxable property
    4. Calculate the taxable value(s) for each property
    5. Timely notify the owner(s) of the assessed value
    6. Respond to inquiries regarding methods and values; governing laws and regulations
    7. Prepare and certify the official assessment roll of the entire borough
  1. Provide up-to-date information about assessment and related property matters, a service grown in importance to the community over the years.

Office Hours

8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday - Friday (excluding holidays)

Physical Location/Mailing Address

City & Borough of Sitka

Assessing Department

100 Lincoln St, Room 108

Sitka, AK 99835

 

Department e-mail address:  assessing@cityofsitka.org

Staff

Wendy J. Lawrence, ACAA III - Assessing Director
(907) 747-1820
wendy.lawrence@cityofsitka.org

Kasi L. Heim - Appraisal Tech
(907) 747-1822
kasi.heim@cityofsitka.org

Josh Joseph - Appraiser I

(907) 747-1829

 

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