Geoff Dornan

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September 18, 2012
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Incline Village homeowners ask state equalization board to finally fix property taxes

CARSON CITY, Nev. — More than 75 Incline Village homeowners turned out Tuesday asking the state Board of Equalization to follow the Nevada Supreme Court and finally fix their property tax bills.

None of them testified during the one hour hearing, instead letting attorney Suellen Fulstone, who represents the Village League to Save Incline Assets, handle the arguments.

And the board didn’t act, instead taking the issues under advisement.

Fulstone argued the unconstitutional methods used to assess those residential properties require action for some 8,700 property owners at Incline and Crystal Bay. She said the high court ruled that the 2002 appraisal was null, void and unconstitutional but that the situation can be fixed en masse by returning to the 2002 land and home values then applying the same increase factors used by the Washoe County.

Board chairman Tony Wren, however, said he doesn’t think it’s that simple, that the board and county have to examine the parcels to see how they were treated because every parcel in that area was evaluated and treated a bit differently.

“You can’t just say everybody was wrongly done,” he told Fulstone. “You need to prove that.”

She disagreed.

“What the court said, and is binding on this body, was that this was a mass appraisal,” she said.

She said the board fixed the situation for the 2006-2007 tax year by going back to the 2002 values, eliminating the use of “views,” beach front enhancements and other enhancements to the property taxes the court had ruled unconstitutional. Then, the county was able to determine values for those homes by applying the factors it used elsewhere in the county for that year.

Fulstone said the board should do the same for all other tax years since 2003 and finally fix the problem.

Fulstone said she still has problems with those factors — the subject of four other lawsuits by the Village League — but seemed to hint the group might be willing to discuss those suits if the board acts.

Washoe County has estimated the total impact of rolling back taxes for all Incline/Crystal Bay properties at more than $12 million.

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Sep 19, 2012 04:13PM Published Sep 18, 2012 11:01PM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.