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Property taxes at lake likely to see heavy increases

by Christy Chalmers, Tribune News Service

A few weeks before Christmas, Douglas County’s Lake Tahoe residents are going to get an unwelcome card.

The card will come from the assessor’s office, and probably bear news of skyrocketing land values.

The assessor’s office is reappraising all the property from the Stateline casino core north to Glenbrook. By law, the appraisals have to reflect the change in land values, which chief appraiser John Parra says have climbed steadily since the area was appraised five years ago.



“The whole market is going up,” he said. “It’s mind-boggling. People will pay $2 million for a home and tear it down. There are a lot of sales between $2 and $3 million.”

Douglas County Assessor Barbara Byington warned in August that the reappraisal would probably bring some unwelcome property tax increases. Parra said many newer residents aren’t surprised, but those who have lived in the area for several decades are.



“The ones who are having a hard time are the ones who bought their property 50 years ago, when they may have paid a few thousand or even a few hundred dollars,” he said. “They’re working folks who have been caught up in the market, and they’re not going to be able to afford them any more.”

The sharpest increases are along the lake front, Parra said.

“Those with lots of money are buying the view lots and really driving up the price,” he said.

Parra said owners of a $2 million house will pay $14,000 a year in property taxes, and it’s not tough to reach that value. Some land alone goes for $750,000.

The higher prices aren’t unique to Douglas County.

“Incline Village went through this a few years ago,” said Parra. “Who knows how long it will last?”


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