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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 28, 2008 3:24 AM. The previous post in this blog was Is one enough?. The next post in this blog is Go back to sleep. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Wheeler recall just around the corner

Multnomah County Chair Ted Wheeler may just get his butt run out of office for some of the crazy stunts he's pulling now. Get a load of this:

The county was blessed with higher-than-expected property and business income taxes this year, before the economy slowed. That, plus unspent reserves, is expected to provide $35 million in "one-time" money for 2008-09.

"We’ll take a majority of the one-time money and use it to pay down our debt," Wheeler said. That would reduce the county’s ongoing funding shortfall, he reasoned.

Did he say pay down debt?!! Obviously, he does not belong in government anywhere near Portlandia.

Pay down debt? With all the neighborhoods still served by neither streetcars nor condo towers, and a wonderful convention center languishing without a headquarters hotel? Buildings all over town without eco-roofs? Executives at Hoffman Construction taking home a mere high six figures?

Pay down debt? What about that new David Douglas school? And for the love of God, Ted, what about the doulas?

Come to your senses, man! Or you'll be back working a real job in the private sector faster than you can say "Measure 50 compression."

Comments (26)

Which begs the question: how does a municipality dependent on property taxes fare in the WORST HOUSING MARKET SINCE 1932?

The NW may be holding up better than California and Nevada, but I would assume our real estate downturn lasts longer than theirs.

What happens when property tax collections drop?

Must have forgotten the "tax and spend" part of his party pledge.

Sellwood Bridge?

Which begs the question: how does a municipality dependent on property taxes fare in the WORST HOUSING MARKET SINCE 1932?

Well, based on my property tax statement, the assessed value is less than 2/3 of the "real market value". The "real" value is going to have to drop by a third before I could challenge the assessed value. I know, it *may* happen, but I doubt it.

"property tax collections"

When has that ever happened? You would have to individaully have each person ask for a re-assessment and they drag their feet on that.

Mr Wheeler has my vote for life. Finally someone who thinks about paying off the credit card insted of just raising the credit line!

I just pray to God that the City Council doesn't find a way to finagle that money and put it towards one of their pet projects.

Which begs the question: how does a municipality dependent on property taxes fare in the WORST HOUSING MARKET SINCE 1932?

I hate to break this to you but a houses value has had NOTHING to do with your property tax bill since Measure 5 passed in the mid 90's. MCO tax department doesn't even have any property appraisers anymore. They laid them all off years ago. Propoerty taxes are based on an mathematical formula, written by Bill Sizemore. It gives big tax breaks to those entities that own property for a long time. The longer the better. Hint what entity "owns" property for a long time? Your right a corporation. So long as it stays in business it never dies.

Greg C

MCO tax department doesn't even have any property appraisers anymore.

That should be an interesting topic of conversation tonight when I have dinner with two of the appraisers from the Multco A&T staff.

That should be an interesting topic of conversation tonight when I have dinner with two of the appraisers from the Multco A&T staff.

Yes I would be interested in hearing about them. Please ask them how much time they spend looking at property. Ask them how many of them there now are as opposed to say 1994. In fact ask them how much time they spend working on existing property at all.

Yes MCO has a few appraisers left. They spend their time looking at construction plans for new buildings and analyzing appeals from commercial property owners who cliam their taxes are too high. But I don't think they look at existing property at all as your property taxes on your home are decided by formulas that have very little if any relationship to the actual value of your home. Just as Bill write it.

Greg C

PMG, don't tell your appraiser friends that they don't exist until they've paid their part of the check.

Never mind... appraisers in MCO never pay for their dinners. In that case, better just tell them that this dinner never happened, and that envelope of cash on the table doesn't exist.

Actually, I think they spend a bit of time doing physical inspections of residential property matched up with building permit records for remodeling/additions. I *think* that's the only way a home's assessed value can increase above the 3% limit.

Never mind... appraisers in MCO never pay for their dinners. In that case, better just tell them that this dinner never happened, and that envelope of cash on the table doesn't exist.

Ooh, snarky. And I'm not even a developer and don't live or own property in Multnomah County...

Greg,
A county appraiser came to our house shortly after we bought last year, and I've heard of others having similar visits.
-R

Hey, Wheeler is a frequent 'get' and good-buddy boob for LIARS Larson. No sweat on recall, LIARS'll save him.

The various MCO departments have their eyes on this money. If you have the time to poke at it, you can see the program offers from each department at http://www2.co.multnomah.or.us/aspnet/budgetwebFY09/MainScreen.aspx
Some of them have OneTimeOnly in the detail -- that seems to indicate ones that are not for ongoing business but special things they'd like to get while there's some surplus.

They submit these things to Wheeler's office and he figures out what he will propose as his final budget. Some departments were requested to submit reduced budgets (at least that's the rumor) while others were not...

PMG: Actually, I think they spend a bit of time doing physical inspections of residential property matched up with building permit records for remodeling/additions.

They also go out "cold calling" homes that have a recently sold and have a relatively high sales price compared to RMV. I have first-hand experienxce of this.

I *think* that's the only way a home's assessed value can increase above the 3% limit.

That's one way, but not the only one. If they suspect unpermitted remodeling/additions activity after M50 increased the value around 1996 (not my situation, by the way), they guess. Then it's up to the homeowner to appeal and prove them wrong.

Property tax COLLECTIONS are different from assessments. If people are falling behind on their mortgage payments, I'll bet the past due payments at Multco Property Tax office skyrocket.

And less new construction and new sales (think empty condos) means fewer new properties joining the tax rolls.

Next time an appraiser comes to my door, I'll just tell him/her that "you don't exist."

Oregon's property tax system is a bit confusing, and widely misunderstood. Measure 5 set a cap on the ratio of property taxes to Real Market Value: $5/$1000 RMV for general government services and $10/$1000 RMV for education. Measure 5 did not disconnect AV from RMV. It was Bill Sizemore's Measure 47 that did that. M47 rolled back the AV to what it was 2 years prior to passage of M47, and capped AV increases at 3% per year. It also stipulated that AV of new development would be set at the same ratio to RMV as the aggregate AV/RMV county-wide. Property values have risen astronomically since passage of M47, and your AV is now a much smaller fraction of your RMV than it was pre M47. If property values fall far enough, we may see tax collections constrained by taxpayers challenging their RMV, and thus limiting their tax payments to the $15 limit established with Measure 5. I actually did this several years ago - with a new appraisal in hand from a mortgage refinance. Only cut my bill by about $100, but gratifying to beat the County tax man nonetheless. Thought I'd try and clear things up a bit, hope it's clearer than mud now.

Correction to the above: $10/$1000 RMV general govt & $5/$1000 RMV education - too many beers tonight to get it right the first time. My apologies.

" ... your AV is now a much smaller fraction of your RMV than it was ...."

Should that be/did you mean: The difference of AV from RMV, 'is now a much smaller fraction of RMV'? Or that is, equivalently, the AV -over- RMV fraction is getting bigger, approaching unity of one point zero?

Maybe my thinking is upside down with the idea that AV is (historically) less than RMV, so, AV -over- RMV a fraction less than 1.

For the past several years the rate of increase in RMV has exceeded the rate of increase in AV (AV increase limited by M47 to 3%) So the "fraction" AV/RMV is a lot smaller than it used to be. I'm sober now, so I'm pretty sure I stated this correctly.

Tenskwatawa - I'm guessing you don't actually listen to Lars Larson if you think he and Wheeler are good buddies. Larson bashes Wheeler on a regular basis.

Jack,

What do you think the possibility is for Portland to have a "San Diego" style default?

How close are we to something like that, and what would be the tipping point? How close are we to Portland's debt simply melting down?

The seeming "facts" spewed on this comment thread by the likes of Greg C and Tentsy are quite amusing. You guys need to get your facts straight.

I too have had Multco appraisers "visit" (leaving their business cards stuck in my front door and asking that we call them to discuss value) both of the homes I've owned since living in Portland - both Hollywood District and Irvington.

You CANNOT tell me they are not present, because they simply ARE. However, my response has been to NOT call them and INDEED to pretend they don't exist.

This inability to go on hard, cold facts is just so typical of libs...

Shouldn't we plan some sort of celebration in honor of Opie's departure from Mayberry?


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