FARMINGTON — It's been nearly 45 days since Davis County sent 93,000 valuation notices to local property owners — one notice per parcel.

Monday marks the end of those 45 days and the last day property owners can appeal property values set by the county assessor.

More than 1,900 property values already have been appealed in Davis County with a rush likely to happen Monday.

Property owners need to show documentation proving why a home value may be incorrect, and the usual method for that is to ask a real estate agent to run some "comps," or numbers showing sales for comparable properties.

Already, county officials have approved 172 appeals. Only three have been denied.

But 2008 has been quieter than 2007, officials say. Last year more than 2,600 appeals were filed after about 25 percent of properties were appraised and brought up to market value.

This year, the other 75 percent of properties were brought up to market value.

In 2007, when assessor James Ivie took office, his mission was to begin bringing property values up to current market values. Some areas of southern Davis County in Bountiful and North Salt Lake hadn't been reappraised in a decade, meaning those residents hadn't been paying their share of property taxes.

The increase in values, as high as 100 percent for some residents, combined with property-tax increases by four taxing entities, led to sticker shock at the mailbox when residents received their valuation notices.

The ensuing outcry by south Davis residents led county officials to team up with the Davis School District, Bountiful, Weber Basin Water Conservancy District and Davis Mosquito Abatement District to provide an "equity adjustment" to property tax bills.

The equity adjustment was funded by unexpected tax revenue those entities are entitled to from new properties on the tax rolls.

About $5.8 million in new growth revenue was split among 23,392 properties in Davis County, the only county to offer such tax relief. The average abatement was $212, according to the Davis County Clerk/Auditor's Office, but just fewer than 1 percent of those eligible for equity abatements had their taxes discounted by $1,000 or more.

But the equity abatement was available only for the 2007 tax bill.

So Davis County commissioners approved $100,000 in emergency funding for the assessor's office in 2007. About $41,000 are left to pay those temporary employees this year. Commissioners also approved the purchase of sophisticated aerial photograph software to verify property measurements.

This year, said Commissioner Alan Hansen, the few residents who have contacted him have mostly asked for instructions in the appeal process.

"If there's something wrong there, we'll take a good look at it," he said, adding that he doesn't want to see residents, especially seniors, taxed out of their homes.

Ivie said he knew people would have upsetting increases in the values of their homes, but he knew that the values needed to be at proper levels, as well.

He pledges to stay on top of appraisals in Davis County.

Hansen said he trusts Ivie and his department.

"I would actually predict that you'll see those (appeal) numbers drop in the years to come," Hansen said.


E-mail: jdougherty@desnews.com