The concern over property assessments hasn’t hit a fever pitch in other Panhandle counties, but there certainly is enough griping to go around.
About 200 Bonner County residents want to talk with commissioners about their property valuations. The average increase for residents was between 15 and 20 percent, about the same as it’s been for the last three years.
“It’s the same old story for Bonner County. We are making changes in valuations based upon the real estate market and some people don’t like it,” said Assessor Tim Cochran.
Complaints nearly doubled this year. Cochran says it’s a cumulative effect and people are upset because of increases during the last three years.
From 1980 to about 1991 the real estate market was fairly flat, so there wasn’t a need to make any big changes, he said. Cochran’s office already has talked with many of those complaining and expects about 60 percent of them to appeal.
Boundary County Assessor Stephen Fendos had about 75 complaints after assessments were mailed. Only six of those residents have scheduled an appeal before the commissioners.
Increases in the county ranged from 10 to 50 percent.
In Shoshone County, Assessor Duane Little said most of the county assessments went up about 14 percent. The surge in property values around the Kellogg ski area seems to be tapering off after three or four years, Little said.
The ripple effect, however, is reaching Mullan and Wallace, where assessments rose 30 percent this year.
“The values on the far east end of the county are starting to catch up with the west end,” Little said. “But they’ve got a long ways to go.”
He said only 12 people have appealed this year.
In Benewah County, Assessor Susan Renfro said property values were up about 8 percent. That’s down from last year’s increase of 14 percent. Only three people have appealed, she said, although county appraisers corrected about 30 property listings, due mainly to typographical errors.
“It’s been fairly quiet,” she said.
In Latah County, values rose 14 percent this year, said Assessor Steve Fiscus. New construction, he said, accounts for about 3 percent of that. Last year’s assessments rose 11 percent.
Fiscus said there was no increase this year in farmland value - a large part of Latah County’s land base.
He said the county had 25 appeals and reassessed about 225 properties.