The Kenai Peninsula Borough assessor has called for a town hall meeting with Kenai business owners and residents to explain methods and mandates and the reason for recent hikes in property assessments.
Shane Horan and his staff will meet with people at 7 p.m. March 20 at the Challenger Center of Alaska in Kenai.
"I've got a PowerPoint (computer) presentation on our inspection cycle, the 2008 valuations, how the values were reconciled and samplings of assessed values to sale prices ratios," Horan said.
He said he also would give an overview of Alaska statutes that mandate assessors to assess property at the full and true value.
After meeting with Kenai Mayor Pat Porter and other city officials, Horan suggested conducting the town hall meeting in response to numerous complaints the city received from business owners who generally saw 15 to 16 percent increases in the assessed value of their property this year.
In an earlier report, Horan said his office began using a new computer program two years ago, giving the assessor the ability to perform land modeling, something it could not do in the past.
Horan described land modeling as developing land types such as residential, residential riverfront or residential lakefront.
Two years ago, the land modeling was applied to properties on the south peninsula including Kachemak Bay, Horan said.
"Last year we did Soldotna; this year Kenai," he said.
An extreme example of change in Kenai assessments is the proposed Wal-Mart property.
The earlier report in the Clarion contained incorrect information about the previous assessed value of the property.
"Actually we had the site assessed as three separate parcels," Horan said Friday. The 2007 total assessed value was $684,000.
"In 2008, the (assessment) notice went out at $3.2 million," he said. Wal-Mart is expected to purchase the land for $3.7 million.
Because members of the assessor's office visit and physically inspect each piece of property to complete assessments, Horan said it takes his office between five and six years to re-canvass the entire borough.
Phil Hermanek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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