Tax bills vary from property to property |

Tax bills vary from property to property

William Ferchland, Tribune staff writer

There are an estimated 40,000 to 80,000 parcels that can be taxed in Lake Tahoe Unified School District, the county assessor stated.

They range from residential and vacation homes, time shares, commercial properties, empty lots, motels and apartment complexes. Superintendent Diane Scheerhorn said the tax would affect 38,906 parcels in the district.

Tim Holcomb, El Dorado County assessor, gives each parcel a parcel account number. A condominium complex, for example, can either be one parcel or 50 parcels if it has 50 units. It depends on the discretion of the assessor, the use of the units, the construction date, if it has a homeowner’s association and other variances. A single family house can have two parcels.

“If the house is owned by a brother of a group of siblings who inherited the property from a parent and all of the siblings own the land but the one brother lives in the house” there would be two parcels: One for the land and one for the house, Holcomb said.

Those parcel account numbers are sent to the county’s auditor-controller’s office to prepare bills for the tax collector. Included in the bill is the property tax and any other taxes for special purposes. Those in Lake Valley Fire Protection District pay a parcel tax of $5 to $40 depending on the size and value of the parcel. The tax, called Measure M that was passed in the early 1980s, generates about $150,000 to the general fund for fire suppression efforts.

Not every tax bill is the same for property owners.

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“It varies so much,” said Sally Zutter, property tax manager for the auditor-controller’s office. “To try to make a general overall rule would be very difficult because everybody’s tax bill looks very different.”

It all depends where a person owns property. Combinations of fees and taxes for ambulances, fire, city services (Measure S), LTUSD facilities and drainage easement can be on a tax bill.

Norm Strobel has owned his house since 1976 and thus pays relatively low property taxes. He lives on Lake Tahoe Boulevard near Sawmill Road.

His bill is $1,202.66. Included are two LTUSD bonds at $26.37, $18 for a recreation bond, $20 for snow removal, $24.60 for ambulance services, $6 for mosquito abatement, $6 for litter control, $3 for hazardous waste removal, $15 for the county library and $20 for Lake Valley Fire Protection District.

As of now, he is against a parcel tax for LTUSD. Strobel is retired and at 65, could be exempt from the tax if the district includes it in the resolution. The resolution should improve what the district has, he said.

“They haven’t sold me on what they’re going to do,” Strobel said. “What they’re selling me on … is that we won’t have to layoff anybody and keep the existing services. That doesn’t cut it.”

– E-mail William Ferchland at