Carson City Assessor Dave Dawley has a request for area property owners: When your new assessment notice arrives this week, take a deep breath, sit down and relax.
First, read the part under "assessment notice" that says "This is not a tax bill. It is a notice of value only."
Notices to 18,000 property owners in the Capital City were put in the mail this morning and Dawley said he expects his phone will be ringing off the hook when they hit the owners' mailboxes.
"Taxpayers are going to flip when they see these increases," Dawley said. "Especially when the average sales price in Carson City has gone down about $15,000 this year."
Try an average of 40 percent to 50 percent in most parts of town, he said.
"On South Carson Street we've got 250 percent increases and, way south, 1,100 percent."
Dawley said the first thing people need to know is that their property tax bill isn't connected to the assessed value. For the homeowner, property taxes can't increase more than 3 percent a year and for businesses, 8 percent.
Dino Dicianno, director of the Nevada Department of Taxation, said those caps apply no matter what happens to assessed value.
"The cap is the cap, that's the bottom line," he said.
Dawley said Carson City has managed to keep the increases below those caps since the cap was passed in 2005.
He said the second thing area residents need to understand is that those large increases in assessed value are coming because that's what the property is actually worth.
In fact, the property still is worth more, he said.
"They're huge increases but they're still under market value," he said. "Actually, it's really great for the taxpayer - the fact their property is going up so much and they don't have to pay the increase."
Dawley cited an example on East Nye Lane where the land value is rising from $680,000 this year to $3.9 million next year. He said that's still undervalued since the land actually sold for $4.47 million earlier this year. Assessors use actual sales to determine value wherever possible.
Another property on Manhattan Drive increased in value from $143,751 in 2005-06 to $240,000 for the coming fiscal year. But that property recently sold for $367,000.
"Land value has to be somewhere near market value," Dawley said.
Dicianno confirmed that is state law.
Dawley said the same thing is happening throughout Carson City because the assessor's office has traditionally been so conservative in setting assessed values while the market has risen dramatically.
Even with the average sales price down this year, he said the values in his office's records are well below what homes and land are going for.
The exception is Clark County where, he said, the assessor's office aggressively raised values for the past few years. Now, with the housing market practically shut down in Southern Nevada, he said values in many areas there are actually being reduced.
• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at email@example.com or 687-8750.