Town Hall

town Hall 01Last night’s “Town Hall” meeting in Elk at the Country Church of the Open Bibler, was well attended and allowed a lot of informal discussion to take place. We were able to discuss obstacles being encountered by victims during the recovery from the wildfire. Being a fire victim myself, I left the meeting with some weight and frustration lifted off of my shoulders. There was hope for the future replacing it.

The 2 speakers addressed subjects in their own professional fields and then fielded many questions from the locals in attendance.

Leonard Christian

House of Representatives – 4th Legislative District

Christian apologised that in Olympia they had been told that the asbestos testing was being paid for by the state and it has not. Many people responded saying what it had cost them.

town Hall 02He understands the importance of stopping the new building codes requiring no propane allowances in our reconstruction. Heat pumps do not work well in the colder regions (below 34 degrees), or rural regions that lose power frequently.

town Hall 08This mandate needs to be fought, and the best way to prevent it from being passed into law in March 2024 is to flood Gov Jay Inslee with emails and phone calls stating your point of view. Contact him frequently, and ask all of your friends and relatives to do the same. His contact information is below.

We do not want Propane to be Outlawed!

  • Write
    Governor Jay Inslee
    Office of the Governor
    PO Box 40002
    Olympia, WA 98504-0002
  • Fax
    360-753-4110

Tom Konis

the Spokane County Assessor

Konis explained the process that was used to speed up the zero valuation determination on single-family dwellings that were destroyed and damaged. Using a Google imagery-fly-over system they identified destroyed structures. Their office filled out the forms requesting adjustments for the taxpayers. Most people have already gotten a notice showing this reduced valuation and some have already received a refund of overpaid taxes.

town Hall 06A dairy farmer asked why his barn was not included as a loss, along with all of the hay in it. Evidently, only single-family homes are eligible for this tax break. A change in this law is needed. Farmland, timberland and livestock feed storage are real considerations here.

People with acreage already zoned in forest reserve taxes asked if they would now be penalized for “back taxes” since the timber was destroyed before the end of the time period signed up for. No. More questions were brought up about reforestation assistance.

The question was asked about why land parcels that are burnt are being valued the same as property not burnt. Many questions and many answers were discussed. Konis explained that sales of burnt land would have to occur for them to be able to see if the price of that burnt parcel actually decreases from wildfire destruction. Another question was asked about being unable to sell a burnt property and no solution was presented.

3 year Tax Break for Disaster Victims

surprised girlNot Really!

3 year tax break? There are some credits available to apply for but if you read all the paperwork you will see that as soon as you rebuild, those credit’s disappear into thin air. The worst part is that the Assessors Office can make up the difference for their losses in tax collection during the next levy period. So, the fire disaster victims do not get a 3-year break from our high property tax assessments after all.

Here is what the Spokane Tax Assessor Announced:

Tax Relief Options for Those Impacted by Fires

SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. – Spokane County Assessor Tom Konis issued a statement making wildfire victims aware of property tax relief available to those suffering from destroyed property because of the Gray and Oregon Road fires…

FAQ Guide About Destroyed Property (6 pages long) from the Washington State Department of Revenue, along with additional details on the state law. After reading through all of it, what looks most important… just in case you are a little busy with that disaster thingy.

If you have damages that exceed 20% of the assessed value on your property tax assessment, you can apply for a 3 year break on your taxes. Applications must be submitted prior to  starting construction on new improvements… 

Q15 They will prorate the taxes for this year….

Q16. What happens if I replace the destroyed property?
If the destroyed property is replaced with new construction… the taxable value for that assessment year will include the new construction value as of July 31. The total value will take into consideration the new construction as well as the value reduction due to destroyed property. The value of any portion of new construction completed after July 31 will be added to the assessment roll for the next assessment year.

Q19. How is the reduction or refund of current year taxes calculated?

Q20. If property taxes have already been paid, the county will issue a refund based on the assessed value reduction.

Q23. Can taxing districts impose an administrative refund levy for collection in the subsequent tax year based on the destroyed property adjustments?

Destroyed Property Form (PDF Application) 

Destroyed Property Form (B&W Printable Application)

State Law

Submit a Petition For Property Tax Refund

PetForPropTxRefnd

We must remember to request a refund from the Dept of Revenue, by filling out a Petition For Property Tax Refund form. Be sure to remember these three generous politicians in the next election.

Tom Konis

Spokane County WA, Tax Assessment Office Assessor’s Website Homepage:   509-477-3698

Michael Baumgartner

Spokane County Treasurer

Mary Kuney

Chair of the Board of County Commissioners and representing District 4.

Spokane Tax Assessors

Appraiser Humor
The cartoon above was found on Tom Konis’ FaceBook page (https://www.facebook.com/tom.konis). A prime example of Appraiser humor.

Tax Budget Mysteries

Spokane Tax Assessors (Tom Konis) had this cartoon on his FaceBook page. Revealing?

Did you know that the Assessor’s Office is given a total dollar amount to generate for each fiscal year? Who it is, that gives Spokane County this number to collect, has not yet been discovered. That is just another topic that this FreedomPod in NE Washington needs to do a search and rescue research mission and then broadcast for you.

 

Spoco Percentage Tax Increase 22-23

“Fair market values” are then set, by using percentage amounts across different regions of the County and basically dividing up portions of the pot between citizens that live there. Above is an image displaying the regional percentage divisions that tax rates will increase next year. Check how much more you will pay next year. The Spokane County Assessor’s Office’s basis for calculating a property’s “fair market value” is that they must generate this total dollar value.

We live in Elk, Washington and the percentage of increase will be 27.98% in this region, our taxes will be going up an additional 27.98% next year. Hmmm. In the past 3 years, they have escalated 100% already, doubling. Now, I can look forward to another 1/3’rd raise even if the housing market dives. Hmmm.

Want Change?

The entire process that figures out how much to assess and where to spend our property tax dollars has very little voter involvement at this time. This is really not good. For things to improve, as taxpayers, we need to become aware of and be active participants in what is going on.

These decision-makers have no one holding them accountable for unreasonable decisions that affect our lives.

We must educate ourselves to stop this. Am I willing to take what steps are necessary to pay attention to and counter unreasonable tax levies? YES. We will share what is found on this blog. We will also begin recruiting others interested in making a positive change.

Remember! If our elected officials are not voted back into office they can not continue to impose unwarranted taxes on us. Organizing and voting is the most important citizen action we can take. BTW, Tom Konis got back into office running unopposed. What a shame. Wouldn’t it be great to have someone who is a working-class citizen in this position instead of a Realtor? See, Conflict of Interest here.

 

Assessor’s Board Members

 Tom KONISTom Konis, Spokane Tax Collector is on Facebook.

Meet the Assessor’s Board Members

Did you know that the Board Members of the Spokane Tax Assessor are Realtors/and or/Brokers except for one who is a Lawyer specializing in Real Estate? Does this look like a Conflict-Of-Interest to you? We have Realtors appraising the value of our property at inflated values that in turn will create an increase in the amount of their commission when they sell your place. Sounds like insider trading to me.

Spokane County Tax Assessor

Tom Konis Tax AssessorVoter's Pamphlet The Spokane County Tax Assessor is Tom Konis. It was surprising to find that Konis is listed in our Voter’s Pamphlet as running Unopposed. Is this a good idea for a man who has made over 1-1/2 million dollars in this assessor’s office all ready to be handed the position for the next 4 years without any effort having to be put forth?

He was an appraiser since 1993 (26 years), assessing residential property values in Spokane County. A residential appraiser for 26 years, at $50,884.08 works out to wages in the neighborhood of $1,322,986.08. For 3 years he has been the Spokane County Assessor at a wage of $114,351.57 so, Tom Konis has received a total of $343,054.71 so far in that position. We should get someone to be a write-in candidate to at least make the election have some semblance of fairness.

Wages for our elected officials are listed here.

 

Property Taxes Raised?

Property Taxes Raised!

After attending the tax collector town hall meeting in Spokane, we walked back to the parking lot. There was a sense of overwhelming apathy surrounding us.  The huge increase in property and land values in our property tax notices inspired increased public attendance. Tax increases upwards of 40% in 2022! Almost everyone’s questions were centered on this insane increase.

Sadly, many of us that were in attendance are in fear of losing our homes. Excessive tax increase sets up taxpayers on a fixed income for failure. Many others that were there, have had unprecedented levels of economic upheaval during the past three years, making this also true for them.

The County Tax Collector’s Office does not set the amount of tax required for the budget, or assess the values of individual properties in the county. They only collect, direct and invest the tax money. Taxpayer requests for avenues of resolution received only vague references to, the State Legislators… or City Council for answers. The Contact information below was provided at the end of the meeting.

County Commissioner’s Contact Information 509/477-2265

  • District 1 (North) Josh Kerns jkerns@spokanecounyty.org
  • District 1 (North) Josh Kerns jkerns@spokanecounyty.org
  • District 2 (East) Mary Kuney mkuney@spokanecounty.org
  • District 3 (West) Al French afrench@spokanecounty.org
  • District 2 (East) Mary Kuney mkuney@spokanecounty.org
  • District 3 (West) Al French afrench@spokanecounty.org

41% Increase in Taxes

Spokane County Tax Notice 1Did you have a 41% increase…

from last year’s property taxes like us? We received our 2022 tax notice from Spokane County from the Treasurer, Michael Baumgartner today. We are not happy with a 41% increase. As you read the notice above a town hall meeting is scheduled in early April 2022 and we are definitely going to attend it.

Taxpayer Town Hall Meeting

Tuesday April 5th, 2022

6pm-7pm

at the MAC Auditorium

Museum of Arts & Culture at 2316 W First Ave, Spokane WA

Spokane County Tax Notice 2Senior & Disabled Person

Tax Exemptions

are available thru

Assessor’s Office call

509-477-5754