And the envelope, please.
With more than 60,000 pieces of property in the Kenai Peninsula Borough, the assessor's office has its hands full. Assessment notices were mailed March 5 to borough property owners.
Certified real property values in the borough for 2001 are projected to reach $2.9 billion, a 1.78 percent increase over 2000, according to material provided by Shane Horan, the borough assessor.
"This is a very widespread, very wide open, very diverse area," Horan said. "I certainly encourage folks to come in and peruse their property cards just to make sure we have the information correct.
"We have five to six fine qualified appraisers out in the field. And we all do make mistakes, and we are limited in that when we're out in the field, I would estimate that 90 percent of the people aren't home. As a result, we have to make our best estimate as to the quality and condition of the improvements."
Property owners also have an opportunity to appeal. State statute and borough code provide a 30-day window during which owners may notify the assessor of errors or omissions in the assessment.
"The written appeal needs to be filed no later than April 4," Horan said. "It needs to be hand delivered to the (borough) clerk's office or postmarked by that date."
On Friday -- 10 days after the notices were mailed -- Horan said the borough had received approximately 200 appeals.
"Last year we had a total of 800 appeals that were formally filed," the assessor said. "It seems to be less this year."
Horan attributed the reason for the decrease to the areas that were assessed.
"(In 2000) we went through and reinspected Nanwalek, Port Graham, Seldovia, Halibut Cove, the southern Kachemak Bay remote properties, Ninilchik area and Anchor Point commercial properties," he said. "We didn't see a lot of value changes on those areas that we covered."
The previous year, the focus was on Cooper Landing, Moose Pass, Hope and Sunrise. The result was a 40.53 percent increase for that tax code area over 1999's certified values.
Property owners also are required to notify the assessor's office of any changes to structures or additional structures built on their property.
"To date we've had a fairly good response," Horan said. "I would estimate we've received probably five to 10 percent response from people who have asked us to come out if they have additions or remodels or detached garages they've constructed over the year.
If the assessor's office discovers escaped properties -- properties that haven't been assessed and placed on the main tax roll -- the properties are placed on a supplemental tax role. A bill, including accrued interest, is then sent to the property owner.
Next year's schedule for reinspection includes property in Soldotna and Kenai and an in-depth review of properties fronting the Kenai River, Horan said. The last time this area was addressed was approximately five years ago.
"We're starting to see certainly some sales along the river increase quite a bit above current assessments," Horan said. "That's an area we should certainly tend to."
He described this year's assessment process as "going real smooth overall."
"We're answering appeals as we can, as time allows," he said. "I just emphasize that people should come in and review their property files for accuracy. Notify us of address changes. Help us help you."
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