Re: letter from the deputy assessor, Feb. 22:
When I was on legislative staff in Olympia, I was always perplexed by the assessors whose idea of “reform” was additional ways to increase and hold assessments. This was always done “in fairness to taxpayers and to reduce inconsistencies.”
The deputy strikes at the very problem underlying the current assessment system, which is his comment about “current assessments are established by prior year’s sales.”
The law requires assessment at 100 percent of true and fair value. Today, “value” in the case of residential property is marked-to-market. It isn’t about assessed value or appraisal. If a literal interpretation is used about “true and fair” value, then it is the here and now, not last year.
Like many people now, I cannot sell my home for assessed value and find it highly unlikely the assessor will recognize what is the beginning of a probable significant home price sales drop.
Then, there is the probable looming impact of foreclosures and repossessed properties which eventually have to be sold. So, an assessment system functioning under a true and fair value method must recognize marked-to-market and reflect these changes as market changes occur. Otherwise, it isn’t true and fair!