Letters to the Editor

Feedback: County erred in assessments

A review of the 2004 Island County Assessment Roll for 2005 taxes reveals an error in procedures.

RCW 80.40.020 states, “All real property in this state subject to taxation shall be listed and assessed every year, with reference to its value on the first day of January of the year in which it is assessed.”

Value of many properties we determined by their purchase price, which occurred as late as July 12, 2004. Others were assessed utilizing comparable sales as late as Oct. 8, 2004. These are values at the time of sale, not on Jan. 1, 2004, the assessment date. This procedure makes the 2004 Assessment Roll possibly invalid for the collection of taxes in 2005.

It cannot be determined if this procedure was directed by the Island County Assessor, or he did not have knowledge of these actions. In either case, the assessor is responsible for the results, either by the order or by failure to supervise his subordinates. Errors of this type not only affect the tax payers of this county, but those statewide, since these assessment values are used by the state to compute the levies for state schools.

An inquiry of the facts should be accomplished. If nonperformance of duty is determined, the Prosecuting Attorney should take the necessary action described in RCW 84.09.040.

Lt. Col. Roy L. Compton, USAF Ret.

Island County Assessor

1973 to 1982

Coupeville

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