Real Estate Reassessment Notices Just a Few Weeks Away


(Monday, December 18, 2006 8:02 AM EST)

Arlington homeowners will have to sit tight until mid-January to receive their 2007 real estate assessments.

Thomas Rice, director of the county government's Department of Real Estate Assessments, said his department has yet to finalize notices.

“At this time, we're still looking at changes that have occurred,” Rice said.

Rice said he likely would have final details available for County Board members the first week of January, and expected that assessment notices will be mailed out on Jan. 12.

Under state law, assessments are updated annually and are supposed to represent 100 percent of a property's fair-market value. Given the sluggishness of the local residential real estate market, 2007 will likely mark the first year in nearly a decade in which tax bills have not risen substantially.

This year, owners of single-family properties saw average assessments rise 18.25 percent, while condominium assessments rose an average of 19 percent. A year before, average assessments rose 24 percent for single-family homes and 32 percent for condos.

Assessment notices are not tax bills. A homeowner's tax bill will be determined after the County Board sets the 2007 tax rate in the spring.

Arlington's current real estate tax rate is 81.8 cents per $100 assessed value, meaning a home assessed at $500,000 would pay $4,090 in taxes.

The fast-rising value of residential real estate in Arlington over the past seven years permitted the County Board to lower tax rates even as homeowners were paying more in taxes. A typical homeowner now pays twice as much in real estate taxes as was paid six years ago.

County Manager Ron Carlee in November reported that the government faces a shortfall of up to $20 million in 2007, which likely would have to be filled by tax-rate increases or budget cuts. Carlee will outline his budget proposal to County Board members in February.

Residents who feel their home assessment is too high can appeal both administratively and through the court system.

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