I, like many other Northern Gila County property owners, was shocked when I received my 2008 Residential Notice of Values. It reflected "full cash assessed valuation" increasing by more than 39 percent between 2007 and 2008. There is no way that property valuations in any part of Gila County increased so much in a 12-month period. And this cannot be explained as "catch-up valuation" as the same property increased 38.5 percent from 2003 to 2007, a period of only four years (roughly 10 percent per year). It is important to point out here, that in the past eight years, I have made no additions to, or improvements in, my home in Pine, except for painting and normal maintenance.
When I inquired at your Payson office why the valuation had increased so much in 2007, I was told that your office was under extreme pressure from the Arizona Legislature to make these large market value adjustments.
The current system of "Petition for Review of Valuation" Form DOR 8213OR (1/99), does not permit the taxpayer a fair challenge to the assessor's office because of a deadline of mid-April annually for submission, several months before the filing taxpayer has any idea if the "proposed new evaluation" will result in an "increased tax levy" or not. Furthermore, the extracted list of Pine properties, offered by the Payson office as justification for the current year's valuation increase of more than 39 percent (Parcel #301-28-098) does not in any way support such a sharp, one-year valuation increase.
Especially so, when the same Gila County property assessments for my home have increased by 52.5 percent over the previous six years. The proposed increase for 2008 will make the increase equal to 112 percent over the last seven years.
Is your office able to further support this unprecedented "one year" and excessive "seven year" percentage increases in my property's assessed value? And, at the same time, show me how the valuations for fine homes in the Globe/Southern Gila County area have increased at the same rate as those in the Pine/Strawberry marketplace. I would very much like to meet with the assessor, in your Payson office, to receive support data and to explore, in more detail, just how these inequities come about in Gila County's property assessments.
Forrest McCoy, Pine
Editor's note: This letter was shortened to fit within the 400-word limit for letters to the editor.