ST. GEORGE — Property owners facing soaring assessments in one of Utah's fastest growing counties are livid at the tax increases.

The assessments were based on last year's soaring home values, but homeowners say the market cooled off in January.

David Miller, chief appraiser for Washington County, says this year's assessments have to be set on last year's market conditions.

Miller says he recognizes that the market has changed, but he can't do anything about it.

St. George's newspaper The Spectrum editorialized recently for changes that would set the assessment at the price owners pay for their homes, with annual increases matching a cost-of-living or other index.

It wasn't immediately clear how much tax values rose for Washington County homeowners as a whole.