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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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That’s not a burglar, it’s an assessor: Spokane County to spend six months determining value of homes

Over the past few weeks, Spokane County residents may have seen county employees taking photos of their homes, and likely will until May 1 when the Assessor’s Office finishes its annual parcel inspection.

Assessors will always have identification, a placard on their car and wear a fluorescent vest. They’ll usually take a photo and inspect a home from the street. The assessment underway is for the 2021 property tax year and includes one-sixth of all county parcels.

Spokane County Assessor Tom Konis said assessors, including him, have previously had the police called on them.

“More often than not, people come out to ask what I’m doing,” he said. “But they do call the police.”

He said people often tell assessors to leave the property, and a few weeks ago a property owner swore at one of the county assessors, ordered them off their property and put their phone inside an assessor’s car to take a photo. Konis said the property owner didn’t threaten county staff, but it was intimidating.

In that case, the assessors went on that person’s property instead of staying on the street because of tree and hill cover, Konis said. Assessors only go on private property when they cannot accurately assess it from the street.

Konis said that most of the time inspecting property isn’t a problem, and when people do have concerns or call police because they saw a stranger taking photos, both parties are usually understanding.

“I don’t blame people for doing that,” he said.

Assessors also have new technology, which Konis believes will make their work much more efficient. They now have iPads that use the CAMACloud Mobile Assessor app, which allows assessors to work continuously in the field without going back to the office to upload photos and notes. Konis said parcels in Spokane County are now smaller than they used to be, and there are now more of them, but the new technology will help assessors keep pace.

Assessments started two weeks ago and will continue until May 1. Spokane County property owners will be able to view their assessments in June. If a property owner feels that their property was assessed incorrectly, they will have 30 days to appeal it.

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