Candidate questions late assessments

Peter Van Nortwick, who is running for Clark County Assessor, issued a news release to question why property assessments have not been mailed out.

Last year, while the assessor’s office was converting to a new computer system because its decades-old system was failing, assessments didn’t hit mailboxes until November.

“Here we are one year later and we have the same question, ‘Where are our assessments?'” Van Nortwick said in the press release.

Assessor Linda Franklin said Friday that assessments will be mailed Sept. 15.

The law says assessments need to be completed by May 31 and property owners should be notified by the end of June.

In 2008, the county mailed out notices June 16, Franklin said.

Last year, the delay was attributed to the system changeover and a reduction of staff. It was difficult catching up this year, Franklin said.

The state’s reaction to assessments being mailed in September?

A shrug.

Mike Gowrylow, communications director for the Washington Department of Revenue, said the courts have ruled that those deadlines are advisory, not mandatory, and few counties meet them.

Franklin, who has served two terms, is not running for re-election.

She said she will soon start receiving budgets from taxing districts. Once she knows how much money has to be collected through property taxes she will calculate rates. Those rates, with the new assessed value, will determine how much homeowners will pay in property taxes next year.

Van Nortwick, a Republican who is self-employed as an appraiser, is running against Janet Seekins, a Democrat who works as a senior residential appraiser for the assessor’s office.

Van Nortwick earlier criticized Franklin for not running the old computer system alongside the new system. That’s how it should have been done last year, he said.

County Administrator Bill Barron, however, has said the county didn’t have the resources to run the two systems simultaneously.

— Stephanie Rice

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