The Assessor is elected by countywide ballot to serve a four-year term. The primary role of the Assessor's office is to establish an assessed valuation of all real and personal property for tax purposes. The Assessor is required by law to assess all taxable property at 100% of market value. These values are used to calculate and set levy rates for the various districts in the county, and to equitably distribute tax responsibility among taxpayers.
The Assessor's Office appraises property both by physical inspection and by market activity. Washington State Law mandates that property must be physically inspected at least once every six years, with an annual review and update based on sales analysis.
The Assessor's Administration Division is responsible for customer service and administering the property tax exemptions as defined by Washington State Law, including the senior citizen and disabled persons exemption/deferral, current use, designated forest land, nonprofit, and tribal land. This team also works closely with the 40 countywide taxing districts and calculates the annual levy rates as well as administers the business personal property valuation process. Administration also handles payroll, accounts payable and state mandated reporting requirements.
The Assessor's Cadastral Division is responsible for tax parcel boundary mapping and property records maintenance for the Assessor's Office. This includes segregations for new plats, short plats, taxpayer requests, deeds, court cases, boundary line adjustments, etc. The Cadastral group also process property split and merge requests, sales, and manufactured/mobile home data maintenance.
The Assessor's Commercial Appraisal Division is responsible for the countywide valuation of all commercial and industrial property. Examples of these properties include commercial land, apartments, office buildings, warehouses, retail stores, restaurants, and marinas. The Assessor uses three recognized appraisal methods to value commercial property: the sales approach, cost approach, and income approach. The best method is considered and selected for each property type to calculate a final fair market value. Most commercial properties are valued using the income approach. The commercial division physically inspects a grouping of property types each year to collect and maintain accurate data and property characteristics. The remaining property types are reviewed and adjusted annually to ensure the assessed values are up to date with the current market conditions. Other duties include the inspection and valuation of all commercial new construction, reviewing splits and merges, and responding to assessment appeals.
The Assessor's Residential Appraisal Division is responsible for the countywide valuation of all residential properties. The Assessor uses mass appraisal methodology to calculate values on various property types. These property types include residential land, dwellings, and mobile homes. This division physically inspects one-sixth of the residential properties in the county each year to maintain accurate data and property characteristics. The remaining properties are reviewed and adjusted annually using statistical analysis of sales to ensure the assessed values are up to date with the current market conditions. Other duties include the inspection and valuation of all residential new construction, reviewing splits and merges, and responding to assessment appeals.