Methow Valley continues to lead in new construction, Oroville next

A graph showing new construction values over the past two decades. Source: Okanogan County Assessor's Office

A graph showing new construction values over the past two decades. Source: Okanogan County Assessor’s Office

OKANOGAN – The Methow Valley School District represented nearly one-third of the value of all new construction in Okanogan County, according to Assessor Scott Furman’s office.

The assessor’s office uses the various school districts to determine the boundaries of each area included in their reports. While the Methow Valley was still on top of the list with $13,157,700 in new construction, or nearly 32 percent of the total, the Oroville School District was next with $6,006,600 in new construction, or 15 percent of the total.

“The Okanogan County Assessor’s Office recently completed physically inspecting and valuing for property tax purposes new construction that has occurred throughout the County in the past 12 months,” writes Furman in a press release last Monday.

A total of $41,328,500 in new assessed value was picked up for assessment year 2012, taxes payable 2013. This amount is a 10 percent increase over the $37,417,700 that was valued in 2011. However, in 2010 the new construction was valued at $45,397,400 when the Oroville area knocked the Methow Valley School District from the top spot. In that year the Oroville area benefited from new construction of vacation homes, resort developments and construction at Kinross’ Buckhorn Mountain gold mine near Chesaw. The most new construction occurred in 2007 and amounted to $80.7 million, according to Furman.

This process to determine the value of new construction in the county involves the office’s four real estate appraisers going out and physically inspecting the improvements and determining the value of the improvements based upon a number of criteria. These criteria include square footage, quality of construction, quality of materials used and architectural design.

“(A total of) 87 percent of this new construction can be attributed to residential construction with the remaining 13 percent to commercial construction. This compares to 94 percent residential new construction and six percent of commercial new construction in 2011,” writes Furman.

The Omak School District came in at third highest with $5,233,300 in new construction or 13 percent of the total. The Tonasket School District followed with a total of $5,225,100 which is also approximately 13 percent of the total. Rounding out the top five is the Okanogan School District which had $4,364,100 or 11 percent of the total.

“Valuation of new construction in a timely manner by the assessor’s office is important to all property taxpayers as well as the 64 different taxing districts within Okanogan County,” Furman said. “The addition of these new values to the property tax roll of Okanogan County helps lessen the property tax burden on everyone with existing value while at the same time giving the taxing districts where the new construction is located a small revenue boost.”

All property owners who have had new construction valued by the Okanogan County Assessor’s Office this year will have a notice of value change mailed to them August 24. These notices of value change will affect property taxes paid in 2013. Furman, encourages anyone who has questions regarding their new construction assessment to contact the office at (509) 422-7190 or stop by the office at 149 3rd North, Room 202, in Okanogan and talk with them. The assessor’s office is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, except on holidays.