Juneau Assembly to hold informational meeting on new assessment process

The Juneau Assembly will host a public meeting Wednesday night to get an overview of the city and borough’s new assessment process.

At a recent hearing on Fiscal Year 2014 budget revisions, a handful of land owners complained about the new method of calculating a property’s value. They testified about large, unexplained increases in assessed values that don’t track with recently sold property of similar size, condition and location.

Assembly Finance Committee Chair Karen Crane says the assessment overview will be an opportunity for the public and Assembly to learn more about the new process.

“I’ve had people calling me and asking me questions, and so have other Assembly members,” Crane says. “So, we just want to be certain that we understand the new process that was used this year fully. And it gives the public also an opportunity to ask questions.”

According to a memo from City Finance Director Bob Bartholomew, the city made two significant changes to the assessment methodology this year. It started using a new “Cluster land modeling” system that puts properties into 21 distinct clusters or neighborhoods for the purposes of determining value. Also this year, the Assessor’s Office started using a new method of determining the value of residential structures. Bartholomew says it more accurately allocates the total value for improved property between the structure and underlying land.

The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, after the Finance Committee holds its regular meeting on other FY 14 budget topics.

Finance Director Bob Bartholomew memo on CBJ assessment practices

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