Compiling the Assessment Roll Part 2
The tax bills that Napa County property owners will receive in mid-July (unsecured) and late October (secured) for the tax year July 1 through June 30 are based on values as of January 1 of that year. Assessor Division staff work diligently to make sure that values are fair and accurate.
Proposition 13 mandates an annual inflation adjustment of no more than 2% to any parcel that has not changed ownership or undergone new construction. While this sounds simple, it requires careful work on the part of assessor staff to insure that, if only a partial interest in the property changed hands, the inflation adjustment is applied only to the portion of the property that did not change hands. Also with new construction, we must be careful to apply the inflation adjustment only to the base year portion of the property because the new construction will carry its own base year and does not receive a current inflation adjustment if completed between July 1 and December 31.
Annually we mail reporting forms to approximately 2100 owners of vineyard parcels. Changes such as vines being pulled and re-planted and additions or removals of non-living improvements, such as stakes, wires, drip irrigation, etc. must be entered into our vine report database to insure that owners are accurately assessed.
Each of our 904 Williamson Act parcels must be reviewed each year to compare the restricted value based on capitalization of agricultural income to the factored Proposition 13 base year value so that the lower value can be enrolled. The net result is that 470 of the parcels under contract received a reduction of approximately $762 million in assessed value (or 1.7% of the $44 billion total roll) with the other contract parcels being assessed at their Proposition 13 factored base year value.
There are 323 assessments for individuals or entities who have possessory interests, i.e. the exclusive use of non-taxable property such as hangars at the Napa County airport and employee residences at Bothe State Park, Napa State Hospital and the California Veterans Home. Also the resorts at Lake Berryessa are subject to possessory interests because they are located on Federal land. Each non-taxable entity which leases or rents such interests reports new, current and expired leases to us each February. Each of these interests must be valued according to when the occupancy started and the anticipated length of possession.
Finally, the California Constitution provides exemptions for homeowners (approximately 22,000), 100% disabled veterans (approx. 101), charitable, private educational and welfare entities (approx. 178) and religious institutions (approx. 88). With the exception of homeowners and most religious entities, other exemption claimants must notify us annually of any changes in their status. Cumulatively, exemptions remove approximately $1.5 billion in assessed value, or approximately 3.4%, from the total roll (homeowner exemptions are reimbursed to the County by the State).