FARMINGTON -- Being able to assess the value of all 97,195 properties in Davis County this year, in part because of the use of new technology and software, has cut the number of property tax appeals the county will receive this year in half.
The deadline for residents to file an appeal with the county on their property tax evaluation was Sept. 15.
To date, the county has received 1,901 appeals on property tax evaluations, Davis County Tax Administration Director Ross Bartholomew told the County Commission on Tuesday.
The number of appeals could reach as high as 2,000 once all the appeals mailed with a postmark on or prior to the deadline arrive at the Memorial Courthouse in Farmington, Bartholomew said.
But even with the last-minute appeals mailed to the county, this year's appeals will pale in comparison to the 4,069 appeals the county received a year ago.
Bartholomew said one reason for the decline in appeals is that residential property values have declined from 2 percent to 9 percent across the county in 2010.
Commercial properties on average also declined, but did not have such a wide range, he said.
"We'll have many of the residential appeals completed in 60 days," Bartholomew said.
One other reason for the decline is that county officials are confident their assessment of properties is more accurate this year as a result of the county assessing each property annually, versus assessing 20 percent of the properties in the county once every five years.
The thing that really made the difference this year is that there were few errors in collecting the data, Bartholomew said.
"Where there were some errors, we have cleaned up much of that problem," he said.
The county implemented new appraisal software that analyzes market data by pulling from more real estate selling samples, Bartholomew said. That could also contribute to more accurate appraisals, he said.
Bartholomew said he suspects other counties along the Wasatch Front are seeing similar improvements in evaluation accuracy this year.
"The values are more correct than they ever have been," Davis County Clerk/Auditor Steve Rawlings said.
Getting assessments to be more in line with the actual property value has been the goal of the commission for two or three years, Davis County Commissioner Louenda Downs said.
But even with aerial photography being used to gain a better perspective of the value of a piece of property, officials said, there will be obvious errors made in some assessments, resulting in property owners filing appeals.
But county officials like their odds.
Rawlings said he is pleased with the low number of appeals, as it equates to only about 2 percent of the total number of properties in the county.