Property value drop won't lower tax bills

Friday, October 24, 2008

Only new construction is assessed in even years

BENTON -- Prices are up at the grocery stores and for other goods and services with the slumping economy. But one thing has gone down -- the value of property such as vehicles and homes.

That has some people wondering whether they'll see a decrease in their tax bills once they come out next month, said Teresa Houchin, Scott County assessor. Houchin said she has fielded quite a few questions about the lower values -- some as much as 25 percent lower -- from taxpayers.

But the case is really moot, she said -- at least for this year.

"This is not a reassessment year," she said, explaining that is done in odd-numbered years. "This year, we assess new construction only."

But, if the lower values stick around for another year, it will have an affect on taxpayer's bills, she noted. Which means only time will tell whether property owners will have lower bills in 2009.

"We look at every property every year," Houchin said. "And we have to keep it at market value."

She said that issue, among others, will likely be discussed by others in her position around the state at an upcoming conference for the Missouri Assessor's Association.

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