Island assessments climb 10 percentHigh sales prices drive property valuations up.

"Most island home and business owners by now have probably received postcards notifying them of changes to the assessed value of their properties.And as usual, Bainbridge property owners will see an increase in their valuations averaging roughly 10 percent. County Assessor Jim Avery and his staff mailed off the notices on May 25, before the Memorial Day Weekend break, as part of the department's ongoing reassessment efforts.Avery said that Bainbridge Island properties were not physically reassessed for this year. What the office did was compare the actual prices of sales made during the year 2000 to the assessed values, and make adjustments accordingly.On the average, the assessed values of property that sold on Bainbridge was about 80 percent of the actual sales price, Avery said. So we made an upward adjustment to get us closer to our target, which is for assessed value to equal about 92 percent of sale prices.The discrepancy between assessed value and actual sales price was greater in some areas of Bainbridge than others, meaning that some neighborhoods will see greater increases in valuation than others, Avery said.The biggest average increase will be in the central area in and around Winslow, where average valuations will go up 11.5 percent. South-end valuations will be up an average of 10.6 percent, while in the north end, the average increase will be 8.6 percent. In the Rolling Bay/Sunrise Drive area, the average increase will be only 3.6 percent, according to a chart released by Avery's office.Commercial properties on the island will see an average 10 percent increase in their valuations.The averages are not applied evenly to all properties in a given area, Avery said. Rather, a computer adjusts the averages based on specific factors that may apply to a particular property, such as waterfront location, the presence or absence of views, age, style of home and overall quality.As Avery emphasized, an increase in valuation in and of itself does not mean that taxes will go up.Each taxing entity - county, city, school district, and so forth - establishes its budget, looks at the total valuation of all properties within its boundary, then computes the amount each dollar value of property must be assessed to yield taxes equal to the budget. If the city or fire district did not increase its budget and if the total valuation of property on the island went up 10 percent, the rate of that entity's taxation per dollar of valuation would go down by 10 percent. The result would be that those properties whose valuation went up by less than 10 percent would actually see a tax cut for that year.Avery could not predict what the valuation increases on Bainbridge would mean for taxpayers.But it seems likely that taxes in the Rolling Bay/Sunrise area might go down, he said. Elsewhere in Kitsap County, the value of homes in the Olalla, Land Summit and Parkview Terrace areas of South Kitsap, increased by an average of about 11.5 percent over last year. The value of single-family homes in Hansville, meanwhile, rose by 13 percent.Growth in the commercial sector also appeared strong. Commercial properties in east Port Orchard and Manchester increased 15 to 25 percent, and those in Kingston and Hansville by an average of 30 to 40 percent.While that may sound like a faster rate on increase than the 10 percent jump in Bainbridge commercial properties, that's not really the case, Avery said. Valuations elsewhere were based on a physical inspection of sites, which occurs once every six years.Normally, we don't change commercial appraisals in the years we don't do physical inspections, Avery said. But we had a dozen or so commercial sales on Bainbridge last year which indicated that commercial property values were rising fast there, so we had to make an interim adjustment. Assessors physically inspect the properties within one-sixth of the county each year. This year, properties in Manchester, Southworth, Olalla, Miller Bay, Kingston and Hansville were inspected. Next year, Bainbridge Island and the Suquamish will be. "

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