GOLD BEACH andndash; The market value of Curry County homes has dropped again this year, Jim Kolen says. But he sees signs that the market may have bottomed out and market value is beginning to rise.

Kolen, the county tax assessor-tax collector, says his office has prepared the 2012-2013 tax statements and expects to have them in the mail soon.

The real market value is the assessor's estimate of what the property would have sold for on January 1, 2012 and is based upon sales evidence collected in 2011.

"It may be too early to tell, but we think the market may be showing signs of flattening out in 2012," Kolen said.

"The sales we've had this last year, every time I see a sale go through, I compare the price to this year's real market value. I'm seeing about half the sales a little more, half a little less," Kolen said.

"That means the market is finally bottoming out and we're seeing the end of this recession in Curry County," he said.

Kolen says he's not an economist.

"I do know that for most of my career, Curry County market trends follow national averages closely. We're seeing a little uptick nationally," he said. "I think everybody in Curry County would like to think that's what was happening here."

Kolen said market value estimates for most properties had dropped again on Jan. 1 and assessed values of single family dwellings were averaging about 90 percent of the assessor's estimate of real market value.

"Some taxpayers could see lower property tax bills this year if the market value of their property has fallen below last year's assessed value," he said.

Assessed value increases are limited to 3 percent per year and owners pay property tax on the assessed value or the real market value of their property, whichever is less.

"This assessed value limit known as Measure 50 was enacted by Oregon voters in 1997. The Measure 50 limit caused assessed values to lag far behind market values as property values climbed through 2007," he said. "In 2007 assessed values of residential properties averaged only 48 percent of their market values."

andpara;Property values have been dropping since 2007 and last year the median market value for single family dwellings in Curry County was around $183,900 and the median assessed or taxable value was $147,300. This year the median market value has dropped by about 9 percent, to $167,000 and the median assessed value is $149,800, Kolen said.

Approximately $22.9 million will be levied for the taxing districts on this year's tax roll.

"That's only $20,000 more than last year. I don't think I've ever seen anything that low," Kolen said. "Last year, it was $200,000 more."

He said there are other factors to figure in, but minimal increases in assessed value is the cause for most of that.

Curry County receives 6.59 percent of the property taxes collected, he said.

"Of the rest, more than 57 percent goes to schools, almost 18 percent to the cities, more than 5 percent to libraries, more than 3 percent to fire districts and almost 3 percent each to the health and port districts.

Property tax statements show the amount of tax paid to each taxing district in which a property is located and they show this year's total tax compared to last year. The tax statement also shows this year's real market and assessed values compared to last year.

"Each year there are thousands of individual changes to the property tax roll and the tax bill serves as notice for those changes," Kolen said.

He said taxpayers should review their tax statements carefully and if they have questions or have not received their tax bill by November 1, they should call Kolen's office at 541-247-3305 or 1-866-298-0307. Valuation questions should be directed to 541-247-3294 or 1-800-242-7601.