Warning. The taxman may be coming for you.
If you were granted a Prop. 8 tax reduction as a result of the Great Recession and slide in real estate values, your respite from higher property taxes may be waning.
According to Matthew Lehman’s 3rd Quarter Market Trend Analysis released this week, the median sales price for single family homes in Mammoth is up 10.2% over last year and 18% since 2011.
The median sales price for condos is up 15.5% over last year and 26% since 2011.
However, former Assessor Bob Musil warned that valuations were really all over the board this year. Geographically, some areas experienced great increases while other areas were flat. Re/Max Owner/Broker Paul Oster, who Chairs Mono County’s Tax Appeals Board, echoed this view.
As Musil explained, prior to this year, because the Assessor’s office was short-staffed, it relied on a broader statistical analysis in determining values.
This year, with increased staff, Musil said the office was able to individually review all properties which are currently under Prop. 8 reductions.
What is a Prop. 8 reduction? If one’s property value plummets far below what it was purchased for, one can apply for a tax reduction to reflect the revised value. However, once values rebound, your taxes can rebound, too, and there’s no limitation as to how quickly they can rebound.
In other words, your tax revision upwards is not limited to 2% like it is under Prop. 13.
Overall, said Musil, Mono County’s tax roll increased 1.7% (or $89 million in value) to $5.37 billion from $5.28 billion. The Prop. 13 increase was just under half of one percent. New construction, upward revisions of Prop. 8 reductions and home sales contributed to the additional rise in value.
Musil acknowledged that this year’s roll is his roll. “I’ll take the hit for it,” he said. Philosophically, he said he believes in “fair” valuations – period. “If it’s up, it’s up. If it’s down, it’s down. Wherever the number is.”
Newly-elected Assessor Barry Beck, who was sworn into office at the Board of Supervisors meeting this past Tuesday, said that philosophically, he tends to lean towards the more conservative side. “It’s [property assessment] an inexact science,” he said. His inclination is to stand pat, “until I see concrete evidence values are rising.”
Oster compared Musil and Beck this way: “Musil came back into the market after a period of time away and there was a gap in his knowledge in terms of values. Barry probably has a better history on values over the past 6 to 8 years.”
Odds and ends
Mono County Supervisors approved the latest reboot of the Rock Creek Ranch project in Paradise.
What was initially planned as a 55-unit development has been reduced to 23 and now 10 units.
Ted Schade of the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District is retiring at the end of this year.
MLPD Officer Tim Smalley is currently on administrative leave. He was in court on Monday with his wife Donna for arraignment on fraud-related charges.
It sounds worse than it appears.
Apparently, the Smalleys used insurance reimbursement payments in, shall we say, an inappropriate timeline.
In other words, they took the money designated for x to pay y first, with the intention of settling x later.
Technically fraud. In reality, it sounds like a remedial class in home economics would do the trick.