Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966


Assessments out; used 'market groups' method


Property owners should be receiving their 2014 assessments by now, as notices were sent out last week, contract assessor Marty McGee said.

The total taxable value of assessments rose about 2 percent this year, McGee said, countering his initial expectation that the total value would drop.

Residents concerned with their assessments should contact the borough and schedule an appointment with the assessor or assistant assessor to review the valuation. Those unsatisfied with the explanation can appeal the assessment by 5 p.m. May 9 and have the appeal heard by the Board of Equalization.

McGee, who spent much of the past six months trying to correct assessments that were incorrectly valued last year, said he split the area into eight “market groups” and looked at them individually.

The areas included Mud Bay, Lutak Road, downtown townsite, the area around the townsite served by water and sewer, Haines Highway, Mosquito Lake, Chilkat Lake and remote properties.

One of McGee’s main goals was to bring some assessment standardization to neighborhoods, so people wouldn’t be looking at their assessments and wondering why they were so different from their neighbors’.

McGee said he also conducted an extensive appreciation analysis to see how much buildings are increasing in value per year in Haines. He ended up applying a 3 percent increase to every residential building, except those damaged or improved in the past year.

Residential property accounts for 60 percent of the borough’s tax roll, so while land values were significantly adjusted, the 3 percent increase to residential buildings is likely what caused the 2 percent overall increase in taxable value, McGee said.

The Board of Equalization’s first hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. May 19. More hearings may be needed based on the number of appeals received.