If you haven’t been to the King County Assessor’s website lately, it might be a good time to check it out.
King County Assessor Lloyd Hara came to the Enumclaw Courier-Herald office to discuss the latest innovations available on the website.
Hara said his office began working on a new website about this time last year using an outside vendor and the results are now on the site.
“It took less than seven months,” Hara said. “We really started around holiday (December).
Hara said the impetus to redesign the site was to, “clear out roadblocks and get people thinking outside box.” He said the more information an individual has improves transparency, education and understanding of the assessor’s job.
The assessor’s website features a vast amount of information on property values, various levies and answers many frequently asked questions like:
• Does higher assessed value necessarily mean higher property taxes?
The answer is: There is not a one-to-one correlation between property values and your property taxes.
• How are my property values calculated?
The answer is: Local government adopted budgets, total taxable property values in a community, voter approved measures and assessed value of the individual’s property.
Schools take about 54 percent of the property tax pie, King County about 17 percent, and cities about 17 percent.
A few of the interesting facts and figures Hara pointed out that is easily accessible on the site includes:
• King County values increased 13.9 percent from $340.6 to $388.1 billion in 2014.
• Eighty five of 86 residential areas increased in value, but 20 out of 86 increased beyond the 2008 valuation.
• There was $5.4 billion in new construction added in 2014
• The King County median appraised values in 2008 was $409,000. It was $386,000 in 2014. The low point came in 2012 at $303,000. In 2009 and 2010 it was $338,000 and $319,000 in 2011. In 2013 it was $329,000.
• The assessor’s office appraised 700,000 properties each year and physically inspects 1/6th of the county each years.
• The assessor’s office was established in the mid-1800s before Washington was a state.
Visitors to the new website can track a specific property click on the localscape.property green square on the front of the website. The site provides property value changes, neighborhood data including census, education, permits and sales. An individual can click on the “My Property” tab for a specific property value history.
Hara said he and his office staff are trying to spread the word about the property tax exemptions and limited income deferral eligibility.
The program is available low-income seniors, disabled residents and veterans with 100 percent service-connected disabilities.
Check out the new website at http://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/assessor.aspx.