Jackson County assessor addresses departmental faults outlined in state review
Jackson County’s assessor is facing criticism from the Oregon Department of Revenue over failures in his office.
The state Department of Revenue began the review after a series of errors were identified in the assessors office. Concerns include inaccurate estimates of property values in the county, inadequate staff training and a lack of property site visits.
The report cites low staffing levels and recent staff turnover as contributing to the problems.
In a staff meeting Thursday morning, Jackson County Assessor Dave Arrasmith said that updating policies and procedures in the office is one way they’re working on with the Department of Revenue.
County Administrator Danny Jordan said residents are concerned about how the proposed solutions will affect their taxes, despite the assessor's office saying 99% of county residents will not be affected.
“For the 1% of people that are, we need to put something out so they understand why," Jordan said. "And that the whole system here is to make the tax system fair and equitable and accurate.”
The proposed fixes could cause small changes in the real market value of homes, according to the assessor's office, however Arrasmith says there should not be significant effects on property taxes.
Arrasmith expects the bulk of the recommendations from the state to be implemented by the end of the year. Any changes for residents wouldn’t take place until next fall.
He says the main item expected to take longer is the completion of residential land revaluation throughout the county. The office will start with revaluations in the Medford area before expanding to the rest of the county.
His office will be including a note in soon-to-be mailed tax statements to explain the upcoming changes:
A NOTE FROM THE ASSESSOR:
Many homes were lost during the fires of 2020, and the loss of housing combined with increased demand has resulted in higher sale prices and values for manufactured homes. Values in 2022 reflect these economic factors, and we will keep a close eye in the years ahead to properly reflect values on your tax bill.
We report to the Department of Revenue, and annually provide them with our Ratio Study for review and acceptance.
This year they once again accepted our study, but they had further recommendations for our office. We are working in implement these changes, one of which is to more accurately identify land and residential structure value.
Next fall, 2023, you may see changes to the land and structure values on your tax statement, which we hope will more accurately reflect the value of those components for your property. Other than typical market-affected ups and downs, we don’t anticipate any significant tax effects from these changes.
For more information on how property taxes work in Oregon, please contact us or visit:
The county assessor's office says they'll be finished with a complete plan to address all of the concerns outlined in the Department of Revenue's report on November 1st. Arrasmith says they've gotten positive feedback from the department on the draft plan.
Below are four documents obtained via public records request: The Jackson County Assessment and Taxation Review from the Oregon Department of Revenue, released 7/22, a draft plan to address DOR recommendations by the Jackson County Assessor's Office presented 10/13/22, and two memos from county staff regarding the report prepared for a staff meeting on 9/7/22.