Voices

Letters

Homeowners appeal not upheld due to withdrawal

In the Jan. 17 edition of Your Voice, Don Collings wrote about the assessor’s office and the Board of Equalization (Most complaints fail; vote assessor out).

I feel it’s important to respond. In this case Collings’ property value assessment went from $241,200 in 2006 to $270,500 in 2007, a 12 percent increase. This increase is in line with what real estate prices were then doing in Spokane Valley. The resulting tax increase amounted to a whopping $12.78, a .3 percent increase.

Collings appeal was not upheld because he withdrew his appeal before a hearing was convened. No evidence was provided by Collings that indicated the appraiser had made an error. Chief Deputy Assessor Kevin Best has written a wonderful article providing advice to taxpayers on how to win an appeal. It is still available on the assessor Web site.

Collings further complains that he couldn’t get information from my office when in fact we post every sale of every property in an easy to use search feature on our very extensive Web site. We also mail comparable sales information before board hearings convene as required by the law.

Collings also asserts that Joe Mann, chairman of the Board of Equalization, is “in the pocket of the tax collector” (County Treasurer, Skip Chilberg) and is no “advocate for the people.” I know Joe Mann to be an honest, fair and caring contributor to our community and he doesn’t deserve to have his name besmirched by such an uninformed individual like Collings.

Collings must understand that the BOE is not an “advocate for the people.” It is chartered to hear and decide property assessment disputes based on clear, cogent and convincing evidence. Tantrums and baseless, mean-spirited accusations are almost never clear, cogent and convincing.

Ralph Baker

Spokane County Assessor

Rock blasting may have caused so-called earthquakes

On Oct. 25, 2007, I was interested in an article in Your Voice with the headline “Tiny quakes shaking Wandermere area.” It indicated that the latest quake measuring magnitude 1.7 occurred on Oct. 22 at 1:40 p.m. east of the Wandermere area.

Just south of the Wandermere lake area is the Perry Rock Quarry, and they have been blasting there for years and have created a large canyon. We’re just south of the quarry area and during the past year the residents along Garden Avenue have been notified when they will blast as we have complained about the blasting. The Oct. 22 blast was at 1:40 and shook our area.

I called your reporter and left a message that whoever his source is who records these blasts as earthquakes should be checked out as I believe that at least some of these Wandermere-area “earthquakes” were due to controlled blasts from the quarry. Also during ongoing freeway construction between Highway 2 and Highway 395, the Department of Transportation also did blasting of rock. At the Wandermere Business Park lake near 395 they also blasted rock. On Oct. 30 your reporter called me and said he would look into the blasts.

On Nov. 9 I called the reporter and recorded a message to him that the Rock Quarry had notified us that they would be blasting that day between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. They did blast at about 1:03 p.m. which was recorded on our road by a state employee as a 2 magnitude. I never heard from the reporter and wondered if his source had recorded that as an earthquake.

On Oct. 28 there was another longer quakes article with maps in the Northwest section which stated the same quake information as before.

I’m sure the Rock Quarry is very happy to have its blasting in this area called earthquakes, as it takes the blame for any damage or shaking we endure in our neighborhood if they can be called earthquakes.

I have waited to read some sort of article indicating that these blasts are being called earthquakes. I assumed the reporter would be able to check the dates of the reported quakes with the quarry blasts and other controlled blasting by the DOT and other developers in the Wandermere area. So after over two months I decided to accept Your Voice invitation to air my concerns.

Bob Wakenshaw

Spokane



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