The Dawson County Chamber of Commerce hosted its monthly business luncheon last week so that members and community members could hear directly from Kurt Tangel, chief appraiser for the Dawson County Board of Assessors and Tax Commissioner Nicole Stewart.
The luncheon was held on June 8 at the board of education professional development center.
Tangel has served as the chief appraiser since his appointment in June of 2013.
He began with a video that covered the basics of property taxes including the services they pay for, how to calculate millage rate, how to qualify for a homestead exemption and the necessity of assessing properties in communities.
Tangel said a common question he gets is why do exempt properties have to be assessed. He explained that were a natural disaster to occur, there would be a need to have a value on hand so that the property-like a school-could be rebuilt accordingly.
He also explained the concept of a tax digest.
"The total digest is all of the value of the county compiled into one digest," Tangel said. "We need that exempt property on the digest...in case of natural disaster and we were to go and ask for assistance."
He clarified the difference between his office and that of the tax commissioners' office and how the two interact.
"All the data that is collected by my office is then passed to Nicole. Nicole then generates all those bills off of the valuations and the exemptions," he said. "All of the exemptions come through the assessors' office."
Tangel explained the way the assessors collect property information and then assess a value to send to the commissioner's office and that residents have 45 days to dispute the value.
"If you disagree with the value, you can always appeal that," he said. "The tax assessor's office does not take an adversarial role. We are not out to gouge anyone or place higher values on properties than what we believe is fair."
After the office turns the values over to Stewart's office, she submits that digest to the state.
"That will begin the process of the millage rate being applied to that digest," Tangel said.
Stewart then took a few minutes to reiterate some of Tangel's points as well as clarify some basics on the structure of their respective offices, including her office's role with car tags and how those are applied for and paid for annually.
She then offered to take questions for both Tangel and herself.
Questions included those about joint ownership on homes, owning property in the county and not living in it and about the current reevaluation that is going on county wide.
Tangel explained that properties are evaluated annually and that once every three years they are physically visited to be reevaluated. As a part of that process, the county has 276 different urban land schedules used to determine property values.
"The difference between those two things is behind the scenes, since this is mass appraisal, we are valuing all the properties at one time." he said.
In any given year, the assessors are maintaining the schedules, but with the mass appraisal the contracted company is redoing every schedule at the same time.
"We honestly just want the values to be fair," he said.
The current reevaluation will not have an impact on this year's tax bills, but will begin to go into effect for 2018. Those numbers will have an impact on commercial and industrial properties beginning in 2019.