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Tuolumne Taxes Reflect Recovery

Sonora, CA — For most property owners, Tuolumne County’s newly released tax assessments should be minor, however one group should brace for a ten percent kick, due to the improving housing market.

The Assessor-Recorder Annual Report, now out, includes this information among the data. According to Assistant Assessor Reed Adamson, “Most people won’t see a real big tax bill, because most [properties] went up the basic Consumer Price Index amount. Per Prop 13, [tax assessments], can only go up two percent or whatever the Consumer Price Index amount is, which is a little bit less than two percent, and we have to go with the lower [amount].”

So, for the majority of owners, barring new construction on their properties that would increase assessed values, Adamson says to figure two percent of the last assessed value, and your assessment tax will be about one percent of that.

Not so fast for owners with properties still designated as being under Prop 8 status, for which temporary reductions in assessed value were allowed over the past few years, due to sinking market values that placed them beneath their assessed factored base year value.

For Prop 8 Owners, Another Hike 

Adamson says that, last year, assessments for most of these properties increased by about ten percent to bring them up to “about market value.”

This year, Adamson continues, “We looked at it, and the market value had gone up about another 14 or 15 percent from our assessed value. Even though the [housing] market may have only jumped seven percent from what it was — the assessed value was lower. So, all those in Prop 8 could probably see another ten percent jump in their value.” But, as he points out, “That’s still less than their factored base-year value.”

With about 7,500 Prop 8 properties currently in the county, Adamson says it was impossible with limited staff to visit all of them. Of the 1,400 they did, assessments were individually adjusted, depending on their location and improvements. For the remaining 6,000 properties, Adamson states, owners will see a ten percent across-the-board jump, assigned by assessors as what he terms “a conservative estimate.”

“The values are starting to come up but it’s kind of a slow process,” Adamson notes. The good news, he says, is now that the region is in recovery mode, it is good for both the homeowners and the county. “It will ease some of the stress on county budgets,” he says. “Also, for those who were underwater on their loans…it is starting to bring them out of that.”

County Coffers In Recovery 

The total net assessed value of all privately-owned real property in the county for this next fiscal year stands at $6.29 billion, up nearly six percent over last year. Assessments for boats, aircraft and personal business property, at $194.5 million, is up almost two percent. The combined total net taxable value of property in Tuolumne County, at just under $6.49 billion, represents an overall increase of more than $323 million in assessed value, up more than five percent from last year.

Included in this year’s report for the first time are tables introduced by Assessor-Recorder Kaenan Whitman that break down county property ownership by location, which provides an idea of the number of parcels owned by people who live in and outside the county. The tables indicate that nearly 60 percent of the county’s total 38,560 properties are owned by local residents and approximately 37 percent are from outside the county. Of the remaining three percent, most are out of state but 15 properties are held by owners who reside outside the country.

Of the out of county owners, most hail from neighboring counties and their properties are cabins and second homes. San Jose, Modesto and San Francisco are the top three primary residences for these owners. Adamson adds, with a chuckle, ” We’re finding, when they are getting ready to retire, they’re moving here. We hope they’ll keep doing that!”