Counties are taking requests for reassessment for farm properties because of drought. Photo by Annie Spratt on unsplash.com

published on December 9, 2021 - 10:57 AM
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As the New Year approaches, assessed property values across the Central Valley show consistent growth despite supply chain disruptions, continuing drought and global pandemic.

Tulare County Assessor Tara Freitas reported in July that for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, business property assessments grew by more than $2 billion to a total of $40.37 billion — up 5.35%.

Leading the way by industry were housing values — both homes and apartments.

The Kings County Assessor’s Office reported its tax roll increased 4.54% year-over-year to $13.12 billion. Fresno County also reported significant increases, climbing 4.19% to $94.7 billion.

Tulare County assessed 126,869 residential properties and 818 apartment complexes, with 5.7% and 9.9% growth in those industries respectively.

Tulare County properties with fewer than five units were valued at $22.62 billion versus $21.39 billion in 2020. Apartments increased to $659.83 million from $600.37 million in 2021.

Commercial property values increased by 3.4% to $7.75 billion.

Ag properties grew at a rate just behind that at 3.3%, climbing to $6.68 billion from $6.47 billion in 2020.

In 2020, the Tulare County Assessor’s Office began taking new applications for the Williamson Act program, which gives farmers reduced tax liabilities on their properties in exchange for promises the land remains undeveloped.

Since opening them back up, the office has received applications to enter 162 parcels into Williamson Act contracts, according to Amy Hendrick, assistant assessor with Tulare County. Information from the Resource Management Agency with Tulare County suggests 37 of those 162 parcels will be entered into the 2022 year, Hendrick said.

Growers can request reassessment for tax purposes under the Williamson Act, especially during drought years with 0% allocations. Fresno County Assessor Paul Dictos sent out a press release to growers in Fresno County informing them that their office would begin accepting requests for reassessment.

Tulare County Assessor Freitas said that from a tax perspective, these reassessments have the potential to be “significant.”

Land under Prop. 13 can only be evaluated based on purchase price and growth in value according to the consumer price index.

Following the 2008 housing crisis, when California officials were looking for ways to cut expenditures, on the chopping block were reimbursements for Williamson Act tax breaks, according to Pete Vander Poel, District Two Supervisor for Tulare County, in a previous interview.

Tulare County is the only county in the Central Valley to reopen Williamson Act contracts board of supervisors approval in 2020.


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