2019 Assessing Information

The housing market in the City of Douglas continues to show signs of strength.  The changes in value for the 2019 Assessments are determined by the average relationship of sale price to assessment in a given area.  Many sales have indicated the need for increases that are greater than the average of 3%, while others are less.  If property sales are limited or non-existent in an area, the average change from surrounding neighborhoods will be taken into consideration to determine the percentage change in assessment.  The process for determining values for 2019 has been complicated with the State’s mandated implementation of new base square foot rate tables.  We are finding that many home value changes are based on style, age and size at a disproportionate rate from prior year base rates.   For this year, that has taken away the continuity of value changes by specific neighborhoods.  Although this appears to create disparity overall, once analyzed, the changes seem to accurately reflect the market.

As mandated by law, the sales used to determine the 2019 assessments occurred between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2018.  A list of the sales used for analysis is available on the City website.   The commercial market has seen some activity and change in value will vary based on type of building/use more so than the area it is located as well.  Industrial property sales in neighboring communities are indicating that market is somewhat flat resulting in minimal changes to these parcels.

 As required by the constitution (Proposal A Amendment), there is a predetermined rate of change used as the basis for determining taxes.  The CPI (consumer price index) this year is 2.4%.  This rate will be applied to the 2018 taxable value to determine the 2019 taxable value.  If the assessed and taxable values are the same, and the assessed value is reduced more than the CPI, these two values will continue to be equal.  The CPI does not apply to properties that have sold or made improvements during the year.

Assessment Change Notices (State Form #L-4400) are mailed in late February.  Please review this notice carefully.  In addition to value changes, it indicates Principal Residence and property transfer status as well as property classification.  The Board of Review will meet, on an appointment basis, Tuesday, March 12 and Wednesday, March 13, 2019 to hear appeals.  If, after you receive your Assessment Change Notice, you believe the assessed valuation of your property does not accurately reflect market value, please call 269-857-1438 to schedule an appointment.

Assessment data is available on the City’s website.  You are encouraged to review your property characteristics to confirm our data is accurate.

Also note the State has approved exemption from property taxes for qualified Disabled Veterans.  Poverty Exemptions are also available for those with incomes below the federal guidelines.  Please contact the Assessor if you believe you may qualify for either of these exemptions.  The Disable Veteran Exemption 5107 Affidavit may be reviewed to determine if you qualify.  Supporting documentation must be provided with the Affidavit for consideration.  Application must be made for the Poverty Exemption as well.