Hey, King County Assessor Lloyd Hara, can I lower my property taxes this year since real estate has gone down the drain?
That was my first question for Lloyd when he held his open house on Jan. 28.
There are more questions for the first Asian American assessor.
If I disagree with the amount of property taxes I have to pay, do I call you, Lloyd?
Former assessors never had an open house, why now?
“Is that it?” I was shocked by the small size of the office. How can it handle properties for 39 cities inside the county?
Disappointedly, the answer to my first question is “no.” Yes, real estate values have declined during the bleak economy, according to a staff member in the assessor’s office.
However, I have forgotten that I voted yes for the school levy, housing levy, and all transportation proposals. So my property taxes will reflect all those levies and proposals that were passed recently. Go to www.kingcounty.gov/assessor and you will see the formula for your property tax.
It’s also “no” to my second question. Don’t call Lloyd. The assessor has an appeal board and you can appeal.
Three out of seven board members are Asian: Helen Kay, Dolores Sibonga, and Andres Tagalin. Board members will not be the only ones present during the appeal. There will be five staff members present to show you how the number is derived.
It’s a time-consuming process for an office. So if you don’t show up for your appeal appointment, it will cost taxpayers money.
Common sense will tell you the answer for the third question. Lloyd is filling in the rest of the term of his predecessor Scott Noble, who resigned after a case of drunken driving. Lloyd has to run again in 2011.
Having an open house is a clever way for Lloyd to reconnect with voters, and to get started on his reelection campaign.
The assessor’s office has two locations: one in Seattle and one in Renton. There are more than 100 employees.
The office has jurisdiction over 39 cities. More than 160 taxing districts are involved, and these cover schools, hospitals, fire districts, water districts, sewer districts, and ports. The department’s budget is $20 million. ♦