A critical step in the budgeting process is determining how much income the City can expect in the coming year. Most of the City’s income comes from real estate taxes. With over 93,000 parcels in the City, determining this dollar amount is quite the task and it starts with the Real Estate Assessor.
The Real Estate Assessor is required by state law to determine the value of every property in the City, including commercial, residential, farmland, etc. They must base their assessment on real market values. This means that if houses are selling at high prices, you will likely be assessed at a higher value. It’s all determined by the market and by any improvements done to your land or structures on the land.
In March of each year, the Real Estate Assessor’s office mails out property assessments to every owner whose property value has changed since the previous year. For residential homeowners, the notice tells you the value of both your land and any structures on the land (aka, your house). If you think your property has been incorrectly valued, contact the Real Estate Assessor’s office as soon as you get the notice to start the appeal process.
Once real estate values are determined, the City Council uses this information as part of their decision on what the tax rate will be for the next year. It’s City Council’s job to balance the tax rate with their desired budget initiatives. Look for an official public hearing on the real estate tax rate at a City Council meeting in April (in 2023 the hearing is on April 11) but know that you're welcome to share your thoughts with Council at any point in time.
For more information, visit the Real Estate Assessor web pages or call them at 757-382-6235.