Tax bills soar with property values |

Tax bills soar with property values

Robyn Moormeister

Carson City land values are skyrocketing along with values throughout the state, and that means property owners may face an alarming rise in their property-tax bills when they arrive later this month.

Values throughout the city have risen 15 to 45 percent.

“Property values are sky-high,” Carson City Assessor Dave Dawley said Monday. “I’ve seen them creeping up over the last few years but they’ve never gone up this rapidly.”

The news is good for property owners looking to sell, not for those property owners trying to maintain ownership on a fixed income, he said.

Dawley isn’t looking forward to the deluge of calls that will inevitably hit when people get their assessment notices, which will go into the mail next week.

“People are going to be extremely angry,” he said.

Property values on the north side of town have gone up faster – an average 30 percent – he said, because of supply and demand.

A $300,000 house on the north side, for example, will go up in value by $90,000.

The average mobile-home owner living in the north side of town who paid $50,000 for his property two years ago will now pay taxes based on a $70,000 value. That comes to an extra $100-$150 in taxes each year.

Property tax rates are set by the board of supervisors during the city’s annual budget process and go into effect July 1.

And the way things are going, Dawley said, property values and tax bills will only continue to rise at alarming rates if the state Legislature doesn’t step in soon with a fair and equitable remedy.

“A lot of people coming in from California are the ones driving up the property values,” Dawley said. “It’s a statewide problem.”

Washoe County Deputy Assessor John Faulkner handles property value assessments for Incline Village, where the tax rates have gone up 300-400 percent in the last five years.

“It’s your nicer, high-end properties on the lake front that are selling,” Faulkner said.

He said a lakefront home casino tycoon Steve Wynn bought for $11 million recently sold for $19 million after being on the market for six months.

Faulkner expects Incline village property owners to break down his door with assessment appeals.

Out of the 1,600 appeals he received last year, he said 1,100 of them were from Incline Village property owners.

Dawley expects a few appeals, too, but says there’s nothing the city assessor can do about property value inflation. He’s just following Nevada law to assess at market value.

There are a few legislative bills scheduled for next session that could put a cap on property tax rates regardless of what the market does.

One proposal out of Clark County would put a 6 percent cap on annual property value increases throughout the state, while another bill would freeze property values and steadily raise them by 2 percent per year.

“Gov. Guinn has made it clear that this is a top priority,” Dawley said. “Something will be done about it soon.”

Contact reporter Robyn Moormeister at or 881-1217.