Officials in all three cities in Curry County are examining a pilot program proposed by the League of Oregon Cities that would increase the frequency of property appraisals and presumably bring more money, more often, into municipal and county coffers.
According to County Assessor Jim Kolen, his office can update appraisals every 20 years because they only have nine employees handling 24,621 accounts — 2,726 accounts per employee.
Assuming the value of property increases every year, and if there were more employees to appraise it, the cities and county would collect more revenue in property taxes.
The pilot project would have the state pay part of the cost to hire a full-time and part-time employee to help him. The taxing districts in the county would pay the remainder.
For Brookings and its Urban Renewal Agency, that means $14,857 of the county’s $50,000 cost, or 29.7 percent, based on the share of property tax revenues excluding schools. The amount would be adjusted annually thereafter.
Under the proposal, the state would contribute $75,000, representing the school districts’ shares.
There are 41 taxing districts in Curry County, excluding school districts. Brookings would be additionally impacted as both the Upper Chetco and Brookings Rural Fire districts would be required to participate, and the city receives about 90 percent of property tax revenue from these two agencies, which contract with the city for services.
“The goal would be to have reappraisals of property occur more frequently, thereby generating more property taxes to all the taxing agencies,” said Brookings City Manager Gary Milliman.
He also noted that Curry County has the fewest number of accounts per county in Oregon, and the lowest number of accounts overseen by employees, but the longest reappraisal cycle.
“For example, Josephine County has an almost identical number of accounts per employee (2,768) and is re-appraising on a 13-year cycle,” he said. “The goal of the pilot program would be to get to a six- to eight-year reappraisal cycle.”
Currently, the next reappraisal for residential property in Brookings is scheduled for fiscal 2022 and 2023; the proposal would move this up to 2020 and 2021.
“Conceptually, the city would be paying for reappraisal services for about three years before the reappraisal work is started,” Milliman said, adding that Kolen estimates a return on investment of 3:1 or 4:1 in the cities, and 7:1 in the unincorporated area.
Reach Jane Stebbins at firstname.lastname@example.org .