Homeowners should be getting their property tax notices later this spring and each includes an assessment of their property's value for tax purposes. But how are those assessments made?
Wild Rose Assessment Services in Red Deer handles the task for Drumheller. Rod Vikse and Steve Washington visited town council recently to explain the process.
"We may have three identical houses sell at relatively close times, but they all sell for different prices," he said by way of demonstration. "Each of those properties should have the same assessment if they're identical, even if they sell for different prices, because we assess based on mass appraisal, so we calculate the average and that's where we place the assessments."
Vikse told councillors that unlike a home appraisal, which is a one time valuation for insurance, a loan or personal use, his firm uses a three year average when evaluating homes in the valley.
"Using three years of sales provides more data to assist in the preparation of the assessment. For example, what happens when I'm valuing an older duplex with one sale in the past year, the one sale may not reflect market value. If I use a three ear window, I may find more sales that show a trend that will most likely reflect a truer market value."
" Al properties have been inspected; a re-inspection cycle takes place yearly. During this cycle we adjust assessment to reflect what is found on the property," Vikse added. "Garages or additions may have been removed without the proper permits resulting in a reduction of the assessment and therefore a reduction in property taxes. Upgrades to properties are also recognized at this time."
Assessments can be appealed at least the valuation of the property, not the taxes. Assessment can be appealed through the town to the Assessment Review Board.

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