Douglas property taxes soar
Property taxes are on the rise, following the meteoric increase in the value of Douglas County land. Tax assessments have jumped 10 to 60 percent, said Douglas County Assessor Doug Sonnemann.
The value of property on the Lake Tahoe side of Douglas County will increase as much as 60 percent next year unless the Nevada Legislature agrees to cap property taxes when it meets early next year.
The Nevada Tax Commission agreed in October to raise the land value of properties by 45 percent along Kingsbury Grade and 60 percent along Highway 50 on the Lake Tahoe side of Douglas County.
Earlier this year the commission asked Sonnemann to come up with an updated land appraisal plan, saying in part that county property taxes collected at the lake are not enough to meet the state’s needs.
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The Nevada Tax Commission adopted factors statewide for 16 counties for the 2005 property tax roll at its Monday meeting. Lake property at Incline Village will go up 8 percent.
By approving the higher valuation, Douglas and Washoe county’s land values at the lake will be brought closer together, said Chuck Chinnock, executive director of the Nevada Department of Taxation.
Elsewhere in Douglas County, property assessments are soaring. Indian Hills resident Beverly Palmer said her assessment jumped $9,000, or about 30 percent. Retired and on a fixed income, Palmer said her house payments will increase.
“I’m mad. I want to know how the county can declare an area adjacent to me blighted, then raise my assessment,” she said. “I will be at the next county commissioners meeting in January to protest.”
Each year, one-fifth of Douglas County properties are reassessed. Properties west of Highway 395 and Highway 88, together with those north of Johnson Lane, were included this year.
The remaining properties are adjusted based on vacant land sales, Sonnemann said.
Stateline and Johnson Lane properties received the highest increases, he said.
“Five years ago when Johnson Lane was reappraised, the values for an acre of land was set at about $42,000,” he said. “That value has gone up to about $125,000, a typical increase in that area.”
Taxes are paid on 35 percent of that $42,000 assessment, or $14,700.
Douglas County has 35 different tax rates, more than any other county in the state due to the number of taxing districts. The rates in the area reassessed this year range from $2.20 to $3.0109 per $100 assessed value. The increase in tax bills won’t start until July for the 2005-06 fiscal year, Sonnemann said.
Johnson Lane resident Teresa Annas said her assessment rose 30 percent.
“I live at the top of Johnson Lane on a dirt road. I don’t have sewer or water service,” she said. “I have a friend with the very same house in Ruhenstroth who is paying a whole lot less.”
Sonnemann said complaints have been steady since the notices were mailed about a week ago. He’s hoping a tax cap will be approved during the upcoming legislative session.
“A lot of senior citizens purchased their property when values were cheap,” Sonnemann said. “When we reassessed properties at Lake Tahoe several years back, the increased taxes pushed their budgets hard. They’re calling us, asking for relief because they’re getting taxed out.”
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