County sees record total of property owners appeal assessed values

A record number of property owners have appealed their assessed values this year, a symptom of the recession.

By Tuesday, almost 8,100 owners had filed appeals with the Clark County assessor’s office, topping last year’s 6,082 appeals.

The volumes in both years dwarf the 1,370 appeals in 2008 and the 725 in 2007.

Sales prices on residential and commercial properties in 2008 fell so dramatically that county staff sometimes did not reduce the assessed values enough to keep pace, said Rocky Steele, assistant county assessor.

Since then, the decline in property values has tapered, but people still want to save money anyway possible in the tough economy, Steele said. Most of the property owners who filed appeals this year did so though the county already had reduced their assessments, he said.

"Because of the downturn in the economy, they are going to try to get them further reduced," Steele said.

Assessed values are figured by using 35 percent of a property’s taxable value, which is based on what the structures and land are worth. By law, a property’s assessed value cannot exceed its market value.

In November, the median sales price for local homes was $125,000, almost 28 percent less than a year before, according to SalesTraq, a Las Vegas-based market research firm. Analysts expect home prices to drop further in 2010 because of foreclosures and short sales.

Most owners who have watched their properties sharply depreciate in the past couple of years can expect to pay less in taxes. About 661,000 of the area’s 730,000 parcels have dipped enough in value to yield smaller tax bills in July, county Treasurer Laura Fitzpatrick said. That number surpasses the 470,000 owners who qualified for tax reductions in 2009 and eclipses the 55,000 in 2008.

But a property owner’s boon is the county’s bane. The county’s latest budget shortfall estimate is $150 million to $200 million and is caused by a loss in tax revenue, mostly from property taxes.

Assessed values must fall to pre-2005 levels before taxes shrink. Five years ago, annual tax increases were capped at 3 percent for residential properties and 8 percent for commercial parcels.

That means a homeowner pays whichever is less: a 3 percent increase from last year’s tax bill or the regular tax rate on the most recent assessed value.

Paying the capped rate on last year’s bill is cheaper until the assessed values fall below the 2005 threshold, Fitzpatrick said.

Property owners had until Jan. 15 to challenge their assessments for 2010-11. Similar to filing taxes, they had until the deadline to postmark the appeals.

That resulted in appeals streaming into the assessor’s office all week, including boxes filled with forms.

Steele said a tax agent who represents commercial property owners often will ship a box of appeals.

The Board of Equalization rules on cases that county officials are unable to resolve. The board had its first hearing of the year Friday and will hold meetings through February.

Property owners who don’t agree with the rulings can appeal to the Nevada Board of Equalization. Only a small portion of owners take that step, and only a fraction win their cases, Steele said.

Most people who file appeals with the county are able to avoid appearing before the local board. Last year, 4,228 people who presented their cases directly to staff members won a reduction in their property values, according to county data.

John Czak, 66, recently challenged the assessed value on his Sun City Anthem home and worked out a compromise with the county.

Czak said he thought the assessment was too high, based on comparable homes recently sold in his neighborhood. He researched Zillow, an online service that tracks home sales, and found evidence to back up his claim.

He asked that his $450,000 assessed value be bumped down to the $420,000 range. An assistant assessor offered to reduce it to $440,000, and he accepted.

Czak thought the staff handled his case fairly. "I found them nice to deal with and very helpful in the process," he said.

Joe Hanson, 59, took a shot at arguing his case to the board and lost. Hanson contends his house was assessed $24,000 too high compared with similar homes in his subdivision. But the board told him his house was newer than the others and denied his appeal.

"I thought I had a good case going in," Hanson said. "No matter what case you had, they were going to find a loophole to say, ‘No.’"

He said the county has no clear set of guidelines for assessing properties.

Steele disagreed. County staffers compare neighboring sites to figure a property’s value and use the Marshall & Swift cost guide to peg what a property’s improvements are worth. "It’s a pretty simple formula," Steele said.

Those with questions about property assessments can call the assessor’s office at 455-3882.

Contact reporter Scott Wyland at swyland@reviewjournal.com or 702-455-4519.

ad-high_impact_4
News
Clark County Schools announce random searches
Clark County School District middle and high school students will be subject to random searches for weapons under a new initiative to combat the wave of guns found on campus. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss React to Dennis Hof's Death
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss speak about their friend and prominent brothel owner Dennis Hof's death at Dennis Hof's Love Ranch. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof has died
Nevada brothel owner and Republican candidate for Nevada State Assembly District 36, Dennis Hof has died. He was 72. Nye County Sherriff's office confirmed. Hof owned Love Ranch brothel, located in Crystal, Nevada.
Las Vegas police investigate suspicious package at shopping center
Las Vegas police evacuated a southeast valley shopping center at Flamingo and Sandhill roads early Tuesday morning while they investigated reports of a suspicious package. (Max Michor/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Las Vegas Metro hosts the K-9 Trials
The Las Vegas Metro K-9 Trials returns to the Orleans Arena to benefit the Friends For Las Vegas Police K-9 group.
Kingman residents love their little town
Residents of Kingman, Ariz. talk about how they ended up living in the Route 66 town, and what they love about their quiet community. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Service at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery
Twelve unclaimed veterans are honored at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City in Oct. 9, 2018. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas house prices reach highest level in 11 years
Las Vegas house prices are rising But so is the amount of available homes on the market Still, properties priced below $300,000 are selling fast And September was the first time since June 2007 that the median house price reached the $300,000 mark Las Vegas home prices have been rising at one of the fastest rates in the country over the past year Recent data show the market is now less affordable than the national average
National Night Out
About 100 Summerlin residents gathered at Park Centre Dr. in Summerlin on Tuesday for National Night Out. Lt. Joshua Bitsko with Las Vegas Metro, played with 3-year-old David who was dressed as a police officer. Face painting, fire truck tours and more kept kids busy as parents roamed behind them. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rural homeless issue comes to a head in Pahrump
On Sept. 12, Pahrump sheriff deputies told residents of a homeless encampment on private property that they had 15 minutes to vacate and grab their belongings. That decision might face some legal consequences. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remembrance blood drive on October 1
A blood drive was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center on the one year anniversary of the Oct. 1 shooting. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remembrance Lights memorial unveiled at St. Rose hospital
A dedication ceremony was held at St. Rose to unveil a memorial and to read the names of those who died on October 1, a year ago. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
1October Blood Drive Remembrance Wall
(Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
1October Blood Drive
Vitalent hosts a blood drive at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Monday, Oct. 1, 2018, the first anniversary of the Las Vegas shootings. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
1October sunrise remembrance ceremony in Las Vegas
Myanda Smith, sister of Las Vegas shooting victim Neysa Tonks, speaks at the sunrise remembrance ceremony at the Clark County Government Center in downtown Las Vegas, Monday, Oct. 1, 2018. (Chitose Suzuki/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
‪Gov. Brian Sandoval speaks to crowd at Oct. 1 sunrise remembrance ceremony ‬
‪Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval speaks to the crowd at the Oct. 1 sunrise remembrance ceremony ‬at the Clark County Government Center in downtown Las Vegas, Monday, Oct. 1, 2018. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Father of Route 91 Harvest festival shooting victim talks about college scholarship in his daughter's memory
Chris Davis, father of a Route 91 Harvest festival shooting victim, Neysa Tonks, talks about a college scholarship in his daughter's memory to assist the children of those who died in the shooting. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Oct. 1 survivor Malinda Baldridge talks about life after the shooting
Malinda Baldridge of Reno attended the Route 91 Harvest festival with her daughter, Breanna, 17, and was shot twice in the leg when the gunman fired on the crowd.
Route 91 survivor talks about lack of progress in gun legislation
Heather Gooze, a Route 91 survivor, talks about lack of progress in gun legislation since the Oct 1. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas/Review-Journal) @reviewjournal
Review held in death of man after encounter with Las Vegas police
The mother of Tashii Brown, who died after an encounter with Las Vegas police on the Strip, not satisfied after public review of evidence. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County Museum opening "How We Mourned: Selected Artifacts from the October 1 Memorials"
The Clark County Museum is opening an exhibit "How We Mourned: Selected Artifacts from the October 1 Memorials" of items left to honor the victims killed in the Route 91 Harvest festival shooting. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Memorial service for former RJ lawyer Mark Hinueber
Mark Hinueber, the Review-Journal's former lawyer and defender of the First Amendment, died in Las Vegas on Aug. 23. Hinueber, who was 66, worked at the RJ and other newspapers for 42 years. On Saturday, his friends and family gathered for a memorial service.
Army veteran honored in Henderson event
Army Sgt. Adam Poppenhouse was honored by fellow veterans in an event hosted by a One Hero at a Time at the Henderson Events Center.
Michelle Obama and Keegan-Michael Key urge Nevadans to vote
Former first lady Michelle Obama and comedian Keegan-Michael Key urged Nevadans to vote at Chaparral High School in Las Vegas Sunday, Sep. 23, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
1 dead, 1 wounded in North Las Vegas standoff
A woman was hospitalized with serious injuries on Thursday morning after being shot inside a North Las Vegas house. Police responded about 11 p.m. to a shooting at a home on the 5600 block of Tropic Breeze Street, near Ann Road and Bruce Street. The wounded woman, police believe, was shot by a man, who later barricaded himself inside the house. SWAT was called to assist, and when officers entered the house, they discovered the man dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Las Vegas Teen Makes Clothing Resale His Side Hustle
Las Vegas resident Reanu Elises, 18, started buying and selling streetwear online when he was a high school junior. Like many other young adults, the world of online resale applications like Depop and Mercari have made selling clothing online for a profit easy. Now, Elises spends his free time at thrift shops looking for rare and vintage clothing he can list on his on his shop. Now in his freshman year at UNLV as a business marketing major, Elises hopes to open a shop of his own one day and start his own clothing brand. He estimates that he's made about $1000 from just thrifted finds in the past year, which he'll use to buy more thrift clothing and help pay for expenses in college. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
Fruition Vineyards Encourages Young Entrepreneurs to "Buy, Flip, Dream"
Once a month, young adults gather at Fruition Vineyards on South Maryland Parkway near UNLV to dig through a stack of rare, vintage and designer clothing that's marked down well below it's resale value. Shop founder Valerie Julian began the vent, dubbed "Fruition Vineyards" in August after running her streetwear shop since 2005. The event gives young entrepreneurs the opportunity to "buy, flip, dream" according to Jean. Meaning that they're encouraged to buy the clothing for sale and find a way to resell it for a profit, then reinvest that into whatever dream they pursue: college, a hobby or their own resale business. Shoppers lined up starting an hour before noon on the last Saturday in April for the opportunity and spoke about what they hoped to do with their finds and profits. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
Local man goes under cover searching for answers to homelessness
Licensed mental health therapist Sheldon Jacobs spent 48 hours under cover posing as a homeless man in an attempt to gain perspective on the complex issue.
Social Work UNLV Lecturer's Calling
Ivet Aldaba-Valera was the first person in her family to graduate from both high school and college. The 33-year-old UNLV lecturer is now pursuing her Ph. D in public policy at the school and has used her degree in social work to engage with the young Latino and Latina community of Las Vegas. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like