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How are increases in home values possible when the market in Arizona is declining? Victor Hambrick, Yavapai County assessor, stated that the 2008 values were taken from the January 2005 to June 2006 sales.
By Mike Cosentino
Larson Newspapers
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How are increases in home values possible when the market in Arizona is declining?

Victor Hambrick, Yavapai County assessor, stated that the 2008 values were taken from the January 2005 to June 2006 sales.

“That lag is the reason,” Hambrick said.

In Yavapai County, the typical home sells for $259,500, is 1,510 square feet and was built in 1991.

In Sedona, the typical home sells for $555,565, is 2,064 square feet and was built in 1986, according to assessor’s information presented to the Republican Men’s Club last Thursday May 3.

Questions from the audience centered on tax-limiting legislation — specifically, a Mojave County group that wants to freeze full cash value and then limit them to a 2-percent yearly increase after that, Hambrick said.

Just like Proposition 13 did in California, he said.

“There is lots of discussion about this. There are pros and cons,” he said.

“I believe that they will gather enough signatures to get it on the ballot in ’08,” Hambrick said.

Arizona’s use of the limited property value is its answer to a Proposition 13-type of legislation, Hambrick told the group.

However, Hambrick said, “Good public policy is understood by the public.”

“I believe that the current property tax system is so complex, it will take a referendum to force the state to reform the system,” Hambrick said.

“A sharp increase in property value does not cause a sharp increase in the property tax,” Hambrick stated.

This increase is due to the 18- month lag.

Hambrick explained Proposition 101 that was passed by the voters in November 2006.

The legislation limits the amount of taxes that a local government can raise, and it uses the limit from 2005 as the basis for these restrictions.

“In counties that were taxing to their limits in 2005, they saw little change with Prop. 101. Yavapai County did not tax to their allowed limit. But now they are held to a 2-percent increase per year,” he said. “Proposition 101 does not freeze or limit the value of your property and it does not freeze or limit increases in your tax bill.”

In Yavapai County, the entities that are effected by Proposition 101 are Yavapai County government, Yavapai College, Prescott, Clarkdale and Jerome.

Cottonwood does not have a property tax and is not effected.

Hambrick stated that home improvements are priced using the Marshall and Swift cost system and then that cost is adjusted for location and age.

One of the questions from the audience was, “Why do I pay high property taxes and get no services?”

The resident was concerned about services that were provided in the area he moved from that are not provided in Yavapai County, such as trash pick-up.

Hambrick discussed Yavapai County services. There are 38 departments in county government.

Elected in 2005 as county assessor, Hambrick has spent 16 years working in the assessor’s office.


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