“Kern’s Property Valued At $92.3 Billion For Coming Fiscal Year”
Special Announcement: To inquire as to whether your property is in a decline in value status or the current market value is less than your property's Proposition 13 base value, please access the Assessor's website at http://assessor.co.kern.ca.us/propertysearch/index.php. The 2013 taxable value will be displayed along with your Proposition 13 base value difference, if any. This will indicate if your property is benefitting from a decline in value. It will be necessary to provide your street address or Assessor Parcel Number to access your information.
Kern County Assessor-Recorder, Jim Fitch, announced today that his office has determined that the taxable value of Kern County property for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2013 at $92.3 billion. This total, for fiscal year 2013-2014, represents an increase of approximately $2 billion or slightly more than a 2% increase in assessed values. This overall increase is truly remarkable because one of Kern County's major oil and gas properties suffered a major economic downturn and its market value was reduced by approximately $4.6 billion over a two-year period. This decline was offset by significant increases in the value of many other properties; real property values increased by nearly $7.2 billion.
Typically, property tax revenues are one of the largest sources of revenue for counties, cities, special districts and schools. Property tax dollars generated close to $920 million of General Tax Rate Dollars and the County's share is close to $370 million, an increase of approximately $10 million for all necessary County services.
This year Kern County experienced a major turnaround for the market value of residential properties. The Assessor's Office reviewed over 200,000 properties for lien date, January 1, 2013. We are required to assess a property at the lower of market value or the property's factored Proposition 13 base value. Currently there are close to 110,000 properties in a decline in value status in which the property's market value has fallen below the factored Proposition 13 base value.
In recent years, the citizens of Kern County have saved thousands of dollars in property taxes due to market value reviews by the Assessor's Office. Some 90,000 properties will see an increase in their assessments for the upcoming year due to an increase in market value. As the market value increases, the Assessor will continue to raise these values until it reaches a property's Proposition 13 base value. Along with these increases, real property, commercial, industrial, and agricultural properties increased by close to $2 billion in assessed value for the year.
Oil and gas properties make up close to 35% of the assessment roll. Due to their value and complexity, they are some of the most difficult valuations performed by this office. These properties saw an increase in assessed value despite the very significant reduction in value of one of the major properties. This decline is based on the current low price of natural gas and the overall economics of the property. Other properties added a significant amount of new construction, and new reserves increased as the forecasted oil price remains high. Many of our assessment appeals involve these high dollar petroleum properties. These appeals require a great deal of the staff's time and resources.
We saw an increase in assessed value of close to $1.6 billion in wind energy properties. Currently, there is $4.5 billion of wind energy property on the assessment roll. This represents the third straight year of increases for this property type. While increases are significant, they have not reached the levels which were forecasted last year.
The Assessor's Office is responsible for over 400,000 individual assessments. Within these assessments, the office must determine ownership, mailing address, mapping, location and the value of the assessment. The Assessor maintains a record of the age, quality, remaining economic life, and other characteristics for each real or personal property item to assist in determining assessed value.
The Assessor renders opinions of value, either for the base value, or the market value of a property. Mr. Fitch urged property owners to contact his office if they feel their valuation is not reflective of one of these values for January 1, 2013. He added that his office is committed to ensuring all property owners pay no more in property taxes than what is prescribed by law. He also reminded homeowners it is not necessary to contract with or pay outside companies for a review of their assessed values. His office is very proactive in lowering these values when warranted.
Property owners without access to the County website can obtain a printed value notice by calling the Kern County Assessorís office at 661-868-3485, or by writing or coming into the Assessorís office located at 1115 Truxtun Avenue, 2nd floor, Bakersfield, CA 93301.
Mr. Fitch concluded by stating that he is proud of his staff for the diligent efforts they made to close this assessment roll timely in a year in which they processed another record-breaking amount of work.
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