By: Taxpayer Murphy
For all the taxpayers who are unhappy with their recent assessment increase, there should be an even greater cause of concern.
Any property which is under assessed or is receiving some form of an exemption not entitled by law is being subsidized by all other taxpayers, by reduced taxes. Properties which are getting an agricultural exemption, without growing crops are the most glaring examples.
The recent photograph illustrates that it is a field of weeds and no agricultural crop is being cultivated.
The 40 acre property is located at the southeast corner of Chinden and Linder Roads, in full view of the County Assessor. It has been owned by a California limited partnership since January 25, 2004.
Residential taxpayers are being punished by the Assessor valuing their residential properties at full 100% of market value (maybe over 100%) while other taxpayers are not paying their fair share. This example may be one of many across Ada County. The Assessor has valued other land in this square mile between $75,000 and $80,000 per acre for residential development. This property most likely has some commercial potential at this high traffic intersection.
Applying a conservative valuation of $80,000 per acre, the difference between the agricultural assessed valuation of $1,573 per acre (36.55 acres) is $78,427 per acre for a total difference of $2,866,507. Based on 2006 tax rate for area, the tax subsidy is $29,584 for 2007. If a commercial valuation was applied, the subsidy is even greater.
Employees at the Assessor’s Office maintain they are just complying with Idaho law when taxpayers inquire about their 2007 values. The question for the County Assessor: “is he complying with the law on all properties, or are some taxpayers receiving special treatment to the detriment of others?” Political double talk should not be an acceptable answer.
ASSESSOR RESPONDS: “The parcel in question was granted the agricultural exemption in 2005 by former appraiser Greg Ruddell who has since left the county. The law presumes anything over 5 acres with no improvements to be agriculture. Staff does a drive by inspection in December, but it is difficult to determine if a crop is on the land at that time.”
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