POLK COUNTY -- Property tax statements are being mailed this week. And guess what? Property taxes are going up.
Statements will be mailed on Thursday and tax payments are due Nov. 15.
The increase may seem surprising with real market value (RMV) on many properties declining, said Polk County Assessor Doug Schmidt, but there is a reason.
"As with last year, with the declining real estate market, you would expect your property taxes to go down," Schmidt explained. "However, under Measure 50, passed by voters in 1997, the taxes are based on the assessed value, not necessarily the RMV, plus Measure 50 does not have a connection between the RMV and the assessed value placed on a property."
Current RMV is the value the assessor's office believes a property would have sold for on Jan. 1, 2012.
Measure 50 allows for a 3 percent increase in assessed value annually, which explains the increase most homeowners will see. Additional factors include the need to collect for voter-approved bond repayments and new value from improvements or construction on properties.
The assessor reports the total RMV in Polk County decreased by 4.2 percent from last year to $6.69 billion. The overall assessed value of Polk County grew by approximately 1.9 percent more than last year to $4.83 billion.
The total amount of taxes, special assessments, fees and charges to be collected for all districts in Polk County is approximately $75.1 million for the 2012 tax year, an increase of 1.8 percent from the $73.7 million in 2011.
While the assessed value on tax statements can only go up 3 percent, taxes may have changed by a different percentage. The reason for that is in addition to each taxing district's permanent tax rates, there may be amounts assessed for voter-approved bond measures, Schmidt said.
West Salem property owners will see the biggest increase in their taxes at 4.5 percent, due to a need for additional bond payments for the Salem-Keizer School District. Dallas residents will have the smallest increase at 2 percent. The city of Dallas increased less due to a restructuring or payoff of some of the Dallas School District and city of Dallas bonds, Schmidt said.
More than $2.67 million was collected for the four operating urban renewal districts within cities in the county: Salem -- $1.995 million; Independence -- $417,000; Monmouth -- $145,500; and Dallas -- $110,600.
Property owners are encouraged to review their tax statement and verify correct ownership, mailing and location address. People can contact the assessor's office with questions or if changes are needed at 503-623-8391.
If you disagree with the real market value the assessor has placed on your property, contact the assessor's office to have your value reviewed. If owners do not agree with the review, they can find instructions on appealing to the local Board of Property Tax Appeals on the back of their tax statements.