Property Tax Appeals Due Today

Katy Grimes: With December 10th looming like a walk to the guillotine, I’m a little cranky this time of year. December 1oth is the day property taxes are due.

It’s a mixed blessing type of feeling this year – things could be worse. I have friends and family who have lost homes, or had to do short-sales.

However, it’s difficult to feel thankful when the property being assessed has dropped in value, but the assessment amount has not. Property owners are experiencing this all over the state, and in Sacramento County, we have until the close of business today to challenge the property’s value with local assessors. The tax assessor’s website states:

Deadline for Appealing 2010-11 Property Tax Assessments – If you disagree with the assessed value on your 2010-11 property tax bill, the deadline for filing an assessment appeal is Tuesday, November 30, 2010. For more information, visit the Assessment Appeals Board website.

On a closer look at my property tax bill, the little extras annoy me even more this year than in years past. Added levies include a Sacramento Library Services Tax, a hefty Citywide L & L Assessment District tax, a SAFCA O & M Assessment, SAFCA Consolidate Capital Assessment, and a levy for the Power Inn Area PBID.

L & L Assessments are for landscape and lighting in specific assessment districts, and O & M are Operation & Maintenance assessments levied on lands influenced by flows on the American River and contributing tributary creeks and drainage channels within the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency jurisdictional Boundary.

SAFCA’s explanation for the very expensive “Consolidated Capital assessment”  is to “share costs for capital improvements to Sacramento area levees and Folsom Dam, for debt service on bonds sold to pay for the North Area Local Project, and the cost of assuring levee integrity over the life of the project.”

The assessment for the Power Inn Area PBID is a “Property and Business Improvement Districts.” PBID’s were created as a “financing mechanism where property owners enter into a special assessment district to improve their commercial districts – as if property owners have any choice about “entering into” the assessment.

This particular PBID is for an industrial area within the city of Sacramento called the “Power Inn road Area,” and was formed in 2006 by the City Council “to help improve the commercial/industry corridor along Power Inn Road in East Sacramento. The assessment levied on property within the Power Inn Area PBID will provide funding for advocacy & communications, security coordination, maintenance & beautification, and economic development & marketing services above and beyond those currently provided by the City of Sacramento.”

The PBID just isn’t working. The Power Inn Road area is a crime-laden, industrial pit. The only real beautification to the area has been done by private property owners or developers.

Enough grumbling – maybe it’s just time to be thankful that I own property in the beautiful state of California, that hasn’t yet been deemed desirable enough by the local government to target for eminent domain.

NOV. 30, 2010

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