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Weber County valuations coming out; tax season ‘going to be tough’ for some

By Tim Vandenack - | Jul 19, 2022

OGDEN -- Sue Wilkerson, an Ogden real estate broker, has noticed the changed valuations of some of her properties.

Taken in conjunction with proposed tax hikes that 10 taxing entities are considering, it doesn't bode for a pretty picture.

She worries the upshot for some Weber County property owners will be dramatic increases in their final property tax bills when they come out in November. The increases she's seeing are the biggest she's ever encountered. "It's going to be tough for a lot of people," she predicts. "It will be difficult to absorb that increase."

Homeowners and other property owners across Weber County will start getting their assessed valuations this week from the Weber County Assessor's Office in mailings that will also contain preliminary estimated tax bills. Assessed valuations, or AVs, which are adjusted every year, are the estimated values of properties used, along with tax rates, in figuring property tax bills.

Image supplied, Weber County Clerk/Auditor's Office

This notice from the Weber County Clerk/Auditor's Office website shows the planned truth-in-taxation hearing dates for entities proposing property tax hikes. They go from Aug. 2-23, 2022.

Wilkerson, though, has already been perusing some of the numbers -- AVs and estimated tax bills -- that are available online via Weber County's mapping website.

"I can see that every single property I own has gone up by a chunk," she said, alluding to the preliminary property tax bills of her home and investment properties.

At the same time, Weber County commissioners issued a statement on the looming release of assessed valuations in a bid to prepare the public and, seemingly, to deflect potential criticism that some might direct the county's way.  Ten taxing entities in Weber County -- but not the county government apparatus -- are considering property tax hikes. They are the Ogden and Weber school districts, North View Fire District, the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District and the cities of Ogden, Harrisville, North Ogden, Riverdale, Roy and South Ogden.

"Weber County is one of the few entities that is not having a (truth-in-taxation) hearing this year in 2022. As you receive your valuation, under state code you have the ability to appeal that valuation with your county assessor," the county commissioners' statement reads.

The statement noted the proposed tax hikes by the 10 entities, subject to truth-in-taxation hearings in August, and advised residents to attend those meetings next month if they want to speak out. Entities proposing tax hikes beyond what's allowed in state statute are required to hold truth-in-taxation hearings before taking formal action to give the public the opportunity to speak out.

Some of the preliminary information on tax hikes and hearings is available online at the Weber County Clerk/Auditor's Office at bit.ly/3zgmPHK.

"We encourage all citizens to attend and have their voices heard," said the county commissioners' statement, further noting that contact information of the entities seeking tax hikes and the rate of increase each is proposing will be in the valuation notices. "Please contact them directly with concerns or questions."

Wilkerson advises property owners to read the fine print on their assessed valuation notices, when received. "You'll notice very quickly by looking at the notices where the tax increases are coming from," she said. "I'm afraid people will be sad."

County Assessor John Ulibarri prepared a statement ahead of the release of valuations in coordination with county commissioners, also to prepare the public. "Later this month, property owners will receive the valuation notices from their properties. Spontaneous exclamations of  'whoa' will arise from around the county, which appropriately will lead to questions," his statement begins.

The new valuations are meant to represent "fair market value," and according to Ulibarri's office, property values in Weber County collectively increased by a third compared to a year earlier. Actual home sales of comparable properties are used, in part, in coming up with valuations.

Ulibarri emphasized that the public may not appeal tax increases or proposed tax increases, though property owners may voice their concerns at the truth-in-taxation hearings. They may appeal their property valuations with his office, however, and the deadline to do so will be Sept. 15.

As Wilkerson sees it, though, appealing valuations, at least for most people, is typically an uphill battle. Most valuations coming from the Weber County Assessor's Office, she said, are typically below market rates, what homes are actually fetching on the market. She and other real estate experts can help property owners gauge whether they have a case to appeal.

Tax bills reflect taxes owed to a range of taxing entities -- the county, school districts, cities, fire districts when applicable and more.

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