Ada County Property Tax Update

Monday, December 21 is the deadline for paying first installment of property taxes and Ada County Treasurer Cecil
Ingram tells the GUARDIAN collections are “just about the same as last year to date,” despite an ailing economy.
Property Tax
Of course, many tax bills are part of mortgage payments and the bankers wait until the last possible day to pay–which prompted a big haul at the county in the past few days. Payments of property taxes has a tiny little silver lining in that you can deduct those taxes from most income tax returns.

Most folks haven’t seen a decrease in their tax bill because local governments continue to spend at about the same level as past years. That was especially true for the city of Boise which increased its budget the full three percent allowed by law. Ada County and some other municipalities actually lowered their budgets, but were forced to increase the LEVY RATE due to the decline in property values.

Ada Assessor Bob McQuade predicts another round of lowered assessed values this year–but with increased levies, few of us will see any tax reduction. McQuade told us he has reduced his operating budget in the office by 13% during these tough times.

He said property values are established as of December 31 for the coming tax year and it looks like most assessed values (based in part on real estate sales) will go down between 10% and 30%. The way county government works in Idaho, the Assessor sets the value of property and the Treasurer collects the taxes based on the percent levied by city, county, schools and other taxing units.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Don’t forget, a lot of property is overvalued by the government. If someone sells at a distressed price in your neighborhood, the city ignores that sale when assessing ‘market value’….In my case my actual resale value of my home is $167K (based on the sale of 3 identical homes on my street) but the city insists in taxing at a rate of $198K. I am being taxed on $31K of imaginary value…If government wants money they will simply take it regardless.

  2. “…but were forced to increase the LEVY RATE …”

    You sound like a flack for “them” with that line. They weren’t “forced” to, they decided to.
    The only sure thing on property taxes is that they will go up, no matter what. They raise the rate, or they raise the totally arbitrary “value” of your property, or they raise both — those are the three options they work with.

    The valuation of your home has nothing to do with the actual value — it’s based on their uneducated opinion about the value of homes “in the area” — and they apparently can make that “area” as large or as small or as gerrymandered as they desire, in order to take the most money.
    If you live in a tin shack surrounded by McMansions, they’ll list your “value” as the same as the big, fancy places.
    They did that to my house (on the market for $100,000, getting offers of $80,000, tax-valued at $150,000 one year, $180,000 the next year, or thereabouts). When I challenged it, they showed me the map of the “area” they had just “moved” me into — to lump my property with it’s old, beat-up house in with a new subdivision of overly large, overly priced brand new houses.

    And our country’s founders thought taxation *without* representation was bad!

    EDITOR NOTE–Gordon, you are correct about sounding like a FLACK! I am sorry and I will work hard at being equally offensive to all politicos. In my defense, I was feeling charitable toward the Assessor for his budget cut and got carried away. The Ada Commishes DID cut their budget and they didn’t do the 3% increase like Boise.

  3. Rod In SE Boise
    Dec 17, 2009, 8:51 pm

    Actually, JIMV, the entire 198K they are taxing you on is imaginary because you still own your home – you haven’t sold it. That is the ONLY way to establish the real value of your home (and that value is really only accurate on the day you close the sale and to the person you sold it to – tomorrow and to someone else the value may be different). Any value assigned to your home, whether by the county assessor or by your nephew the real estate agent, or by some professional appraiser, is imaginary.

    If you want the county assessor to more accurately estimate the value of your home for tax purposes, they would have to hire many more people. I’ll bet neither of us wants that.

    I might be wrong but I think they only look closely at about one-third of the houses in the county each year and estimete for the other two-thirds, so your house really only gets appraised once every three years.

  4. I appreciate the agencies(county and state) that are cutting budgets. Every line item in the budget helps. The other end of the spectrum is Boise. Spending money on studies and pitchmen and raising their budgets. Sometimes just because it is allowed, it does not make it right.

  5. May as well save your breath to blow on your soup. The property tax system needs a major overhaul, and politicians have no will to tackle it.

  6. Politicians have taxed stationary items like our homes at what I call the maximum people are going to tolerate. They got hooked on all the new cash flowing in from unbridled development and “growth”.

    Now we are back to the slow to no growth period of taxation in this valley. How our elected officials deal with this will be interesting to everyone. There are a number of elected officials who think this downturn is going to turn around to the go-go days in a few months. I do not share that optimism. It is predicted there will be 3.6 million homes forclosed on in the USA next year. Banks are still sitting on toxic loans along with homes and commercial proeperty already sitting vacant.

    Greed at all levels got way out of control and what was going on was not sustainable. Jobs paying a decent living wage will help bring things back but i have my doubts about the TROLLY FOLLY, and other boondoggle projects that serve no viable purpose to sustain us for the long haul.

    Property taxpayers can’t sustain all the flights of fancy elected officials would like to fund. They are going to have to find another revenue stream and some new stuff to tax.

    Dec 18, 2009, 5:52 pm

    It is time that our city, county and state CUT BACK spending!

    There is no need for all these PR people, assistants, special projects and other “money eaters” that do nothing more than keep our taxes high.

    I bet that any group of average citizens could cut 10-30% out of every public budget we could review – why not form a committee to do just that at every level. Our elected officials will never do it on their own – they are too busy protecting their kingdoms and raising the levies.

  8. My home’s assessed value decreased by $23,000 this year. If the same is true next year and the next, the nice roof over my head in a pleasant subdivision of like almost new homes will be worth about zip in assessed value. Have the city and county paid their property taxes? Are they continuing to waive development fees, when the rest of us have to pay increased fees? Soon, Idaho will return to the cowboy wilderness of yesteryear where we all live in little cabins, except for those who live at the top of the hill. Sorry, this just ticks me off, along with the lack of a cost of living raise for veterans and military! I would show up at meetings to protest, but alas I have plucked every hair from my head at this point.

    Thank you.

  9. Don’t let that stop you KTA, it sure as hell hasn’t stopped me!

  10. KTA- Are you complaining that it went down too much or not enough? It sounds to me like no matter what government does, even if it decamps for nowhere, you won’t be pleased. You are correct that there are lots of problems to be solved, but with this attitude it’s no wonder the City spent extra bucks on PR people!

  11. Note to Rob:

    I would offer to you the gist of what is said in these comments is that elected officials have completely forgotten where their cash flow comes from to pay for all their needless assistants and talking heads.

    We no longer seem to have any say in how our money is getting spent. And when we do tell them NO, they interpret it that they need to do a better job of educating us in their quest to continue spending on stuff that has no value to us.

    I am optimistic the Legislature gets it and will take the necessary steps to bring government spending back under control this year.

    The concept is easy…you take in a dollar, you can spend a dollar.

  12. KTA: Re: Soon, Idaho will return to the cowboy wilderness of yesteryear where we all live in little cabins, except for those who live at the top of the hill. ”

    Ya know, that’s beginning to sound like not such a bad idea.

  13. Rod,

    Disgruntled it went down; property taxes about the same. I am an ELOF, a citizen, a taxpayer, a voter, a journalist, and an American who is overtaxed, so I have the right to complain as much anyone. PR folks do PR, that’s their job. Citizens, voters, the press and fellow ELOFS are the watchdogs; that’s their job.

  14. Is there a list of useless pork projects that cities have rolling right now?

    Less see, there is the :

    1- Trolly Folly named undesirable (hopefully we will rename this movie Gone with the wind!)

    2- FD Ambulance take over

    3- New library? (Didnt I just read something about this?)

    4- Wasnt there some grand Mayor Beiter inspired plan for an industrial park near the airport or the tracks? I may be wrong about this one.

    Anyone else got some more useless projects to throw down out there….like Avimore (private folly yes, but indirectly supported by local government, yes?)

  15. Rod In SE Boise
    Dec 20, 2009, 12:10 pm

    Paul, isn’t the legislature poised to give local governments the ability to add local option sales taxes on top of the statewide sales tax? I’m not optimistic about them “bringing government spending back under control”.

  16. Just Say NO
    Dec 20, 2009, 9:42 pm

    Any legislator that votes for local option taxes should be voted out. It is just another way for local politicals to get in our pockets! JUST SAY NO! Call your legislator this week and voice your opinion.

  17. Vote NO on any tax increases. Not only did the military not get cost of living raises, but their federal taxes increased, lowering paychecks during a recession. Kick all the tax dullards out of Congress and take away their $165,000-plus paychecks plus benefits. Maybe then they will stand up and take notice of this country’s exorbitant debt and unconscienable acts that ruin lives.

  18. The property tax is an anachronism from a time when folk made money from their property, they farmed or ranched…we mostly do not, but we do pay year in and year out on the same value, till we eventually give local government more money than the house is worth, cost with interest, and will ever be worth. It is like being taxed on 2008’s income in 2010 along with 2009’s income…Fold would not put up with it.

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