The Curry County Board of Property Tax Appeals agreed March 14 with Brookings Attorney Martha Rice and City Manager Gary Milliman and reduced its tax bill on the Salmon Run golf course from $21,205 to $5,325.

The city plans to appeal the lower amount to the Oregon Tax Court Magistrate, Milliman said.

The city maintained since the course is publicly owned and operated, it should be exempt from taxation. The property was taxable while it was leased to the Claveran Group and Wild Rivers Golf, both of which operated the golf course as a for-profit enterprise.

City officials were shocked when they received their new tax bill last year, which indicated County Assessor Jim Kolen had placed the golf course on the tax rolls with a value of $3.694 million.

The county tax appeal board, which doesn’t have the authority to exempt the property from taxation once the assessor deems it taxable, voted 3-0 to reduced the value about 75 percent, to $836,757.

Kolen supported the reduction but Rice and Milliman argued for a further reduction, to $239,632.

According to Milliman, BPTA member Brent Thompson said several times he thought the property should be exempt and encouraged the city to appeal the decision to the Oregon Tax Court Magistrate.

Kolen acknowledged setting a value on the property was difficult because there are few golf courses to which to compare values.

“In fact, there are no other municipal golf courses in Oregon that pay property tax on the land,” Milliman said. “The comparables Kolen initially used were all taken from listing prices of properties currently on the market, and all involved privately-owned property. State law prohibits using listing prices in the comparison approach.”

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