The Public Eye

Reports from the Bee's investigative team

July 20, 2010
Overworked, understaffed Assessors slow to finish tax rolls

If it seems like you're finding out the new assessed value of your home later than usual, you're not alone.

Statewide 29 county assessors have asked the state Board of Equalization for an extension on closing the property tax rolls for 2010-11. That's the second most extensions in the past decade.

The most?

Last year 31 assessors needed more time.

The number of counties seeking extensions varies from year to year. Here are extensions by year:

2000: 28

2001: 20

2002: 20

2003: 18

2004: 24

2005: 18

2006: 16

2007: 22

2008:25

2009: 31

2010: 29

Some counties always seem to need a bit more time after the July 1 deadline. Butte, Madera, Orange and Tehama counties have needed extensions every year in this millennium, according to information from the BOE.

The high number of delays the past two years is largely the result of increased workloads combined budget cuts most counties have made, said Ron Thomsen, president of the California Assessors' Association and Alameda County's assessor.

Assessors are overworked trying to lower assessed values for homeowners who qualify in the down economy, Thomsen said. And they often have fewer staff to handle the work, he added.

Tax rolls statewide are falling for most counties. The Bee reported today that most homeowners will see their assessed value dip a bit this year. Bills come out in October.

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About The Public Eye

Welcome to The Bee's newest blog: Public Eye. In the coming months, you will see us breaking news here as well as following up on investigations we have published with tidbits, news breaks and behind-the-scenes descriptions of our news-gathering process. Know of a wrong we could right? Send our fraud squad your tips at: fraudsquad@sacbee.com.

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