Compiling the Assessment Roll Part 2
The tax bills that Napa County property owners receive in mid-July (unsecured) and late October (secured) which cover the tax year July 1 through June 30 are based on values compiled by assessor office staff during the prior fiscal year. The tax roll is based on valuation changes from events that occurred between January 1 and December 31 of the year prior to the fiscal year for which taxes are paid. The workload described below must be done in a careful and thorough manner by all 23 members of the assessor staff to ensure that the roll is both accurate and fair.
Proposition 13 Inflation Adjustment
Each year our computer system must apply the Proposition 13 mandated inflation adjustment to those parcels which have not changed ownership to create the factored base year value. While this sounds simple, it requires careful work on the part of staff to ensure 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.
Changes to Vineyard Parcels
Each year, we mail reporting forms to approximately 2,100 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 ensure that owners are accurately assessed.
Williamson Act Parcels
Each of our 682 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 821 parcels under contract have a reduction of approximately $666 million in assessed value (or 2% of the $27.9 billion total roll) with the other contract parcels being assessed at their Proposition 13 factored base year value.
There are 287 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 how long the possession is anticipated to last.
Finally, the California Constitution provides exemptions for homeowners (approximately 22,000), 100% disabled veterans (approximately 101), charitable, private educational and welfare entities (approximately 178) and religious institutions (approximately 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 $923 million in assessed value, or approximately 3%, from the total roll (the homeowner exemptions are reimbursed to the County by the State).