2020-21 Property taxes

Itemizer-Observer report

POLK COUNTY — Tax bills are on the way, and don’t be surprised if you see an increase in what you owe.

Polk County Assessor Valerie Patoine said real market value increased 8% from last year to $11.7 billion. Assessed value — the figure that your tax calculation is based on — grew about 5% to $6.77 billion. The total amount of taxes and fees to be collected in Polk County amounts to $105.9 million, an increase of 6% from the 2019 tax year.

Patoine said state law allows for a 3% increase in property taxes each year, but many property owners will see a bigger increase.

“The primary reason a property’s taxes may change more or less than the 3% is due to changes in taxing districts bond repayment requirements and/or new local option levies,” Patoine said.

Urban Renewal Districts are in operation in Salem, Dallas, Independence and Monmouth. Urban renewal districts are funded by “incremental tax increases,” meaning assessed value growth is taxed and directed to the district through its life span. All taxing districts affected by the district — cities, school districts, and the county — would continue to receive taxes, but only at the rate they did when the district was created.

“From these combined urban renewal districts, $3,922,755 in taxes will be collected from the Division of Tax and Levies that goes toward urban renewal projects,” Patoine said.

In Dallas, for example, the Dallas Urban Renewal District has paid for improvement to sidewalks and improvements to business facades in downtown Dallas, which is part of the city’s URD.

The totals from each city are: $2,547,566 for Salem; $229,799 for Dallas; $745,598 for Independence and $402,791 for Monmouth.

The Assessor’s Office certified the 2020-21 Tax Roll to the County Clerk, authorizing Linda Fox, the county tax collector, to start the process of sending out tax statements. Fox plans to mail statements by today (Oct. 21), and taxes are due Nov. 16. If you have questions about where to pay your taxes or how to pay your taxes, call the Tax Office at 503-623-9264.

Measure 5, an amendment that created a permanent limitation on property taxes of $10 per $1,000 of real market value for general government services and $5 per $1,000 of real market value for education services, reduced the amount collected in taxes by $255,898. This amount is down from last year’s revenue loss of $285,175.

Patoine said when looking at the values portion of the tax statement, the RMV is the value the assessor believes your property would sell for on the open market as of Jan. 1, 2018. The assessed value is the value used to calculate your taxes.

If you disagree with the real market value the assessor has placed on your property, you are encouraged to contact the assessor’s office at 503-623-8391 to have your value reviewed, free of charge, prior to filing an appeal.

If you still don’t agree with the value placed on your property, you can find instructions on the back of the tax statement on how to appeal to the local Board of Property Tax Appeals.

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