Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Kootenai County: Nearly 7,000 tax assessment notices are wrong

Staff Writer | June 10, 2024 1:00 AM

COEUR d’ALENE — Commercial property owners in Kootenai County can expect to receive corrected assessment notices after a database error led to many inaccurate commercial assessments being mailed to taxpayers.

The notices were known to be incorrect when they were mailed Monday, according to the assessor’s office.

A June 3 email obtained by The Press indicated that “apparently, nearly all commercial assessments are incorrect and will require corrected notices.”

“Virtually all initial commercial assessments are not accurate and will be going up,” the email said.

Residential properties are not affected by this problem, according to the assessor’s office.

Chief Deputy Assessor Dyson Savage said an update to the mass appraisal system used by the county resulted in property improvements like utility buildings and sheds not being included in valuations on commercial properties. This caused valuations to be lower than they should be.

Savage said his office became aware of the issue May 13, just two days before notices were due to be submitted to the printer, and resolved it May 28.

“We were so late in the game that by the time we’d had this fixed, we had already sent the primary data file (to the printer),” Savage said Thursday. “Once that’s done, it’s kind of left the stable.”

Rather than sift through the about 80,000 notices by hand and pull the 6,900 commercial property notices, Savage said his office opted to mail the notices as they were.

“We made the decision to resend the corrected notices to all commercial properties in Kootenai County,” he said. “They’ll look exactly the same for a lot of people. We just wanted to make sure everybody got the correct notice.”

Savage said the corrected notices were printed in-house, rather than through the usual vendor, and mailed Thursday. He did not have an estimate for how much the additional mailing would cost the county.