Property Taxes Due Wednesday; Cities and Counties Nervous

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, December 9, 2008

By: Steve Milne and Ben Adler

The amount of your bill is based on the market value of your property back on January 1st of this year. And since property values have plunged for many homeowners since that time, Cynthia Gibbs with the Sacramento County Tax Collector’s Office says the number of residents disputing their bills has gone way up.   
“It’s more than double. The number of assessment appeals was close to 9,000 this year.”

Compared to about just 4,500 last year. And if you have filed an assessment appeal, Gibbs has this warning:

“Even though they maybe disputing the value of the property, the tax bill is valid and needs to be paid by December 10th to avoid the penalty.”

And what is the penalty? The Tax Collector’s Office will tack on another 10% to your bill. Payments must be received by 5 PM Wednesday. You can also pay with a credit card online. And if you mail your payment, it must be postmarked no later than December 10th.

Local Governments Keeping Close Eye on Property Tax Revenues

City and county governments have a vested interest in property owners paying their bills – especially this year.
Placer County budget administrator Jeff Bell says his county relies on those payments: 
“Property taxes are about one-third of our general fund revenues.”
Now, Bell and other officials are bracing for more bad news. 
“It’s not coming in quite as we had estimated.” 
The same goes for the city of Roseville.  Officials say they made some very conservative revenue assumptions, but even so, they’re almost 10 million dollars in the red – thanks in large part to property taxes.  City manager Craig Robinson says he’s even more concerned about next year: 
“Will we continue to see the trend decline in property values and in property assessments?  Will we see additional foreclosures?” 
In the meantime, many local cities and counties will have to adjust their budgets mid-year to cope with the greater-than-expected drop in property tax revenues.