Natrona County Assessor explains this year's assessments
The Natrona County Assessor received nearly 3,000 property value assessment appeals this year, which is far more from last year.
Natrona County Assessor Matt Keating said it’s because his office updated it’s assessment abstract, leading to many assessed property value increases.
He said the new system came as a result of fixing the broken system he inherited in 2019 when he became assessor.
“The office was broken, as I’ve said. I just didn’t realize how broken it was,” Keating said. “But since I took over this office, we’ve been able to clean up everything in the office. That meant cleaning up the sales files because using clean sales files is just what we live and die on.”
Clean sales files are property transactions meeting a certain threshold. It allows the sale price to be used to compare the property with similar properties to assess their values.
Using those clean sales files, Keating stratified the county.
“We have used our discretion to draw lines across Casper separating out pieces of Casper that economically are different,” he said.
He said the old stratification was a random mix-match of areas throughout the county.
After restratifying the county, the assessor’s office uses sales numbers from those areas to compare values.
However, Keating said another major reason property values changed was his office assessing thousands of properties for the first time in years.
“I think that was some of the sticker shock is we did revalue those properties. We brought them into statistical compliance, we used a clean sales file from 2019 and, economically, 2019 was a good year,” he said.
The assessor uses 2019 numbers to calculate 2020 property tax assessments.
Wednesday, the State Board of Equalization approved Keating’s office’s abstract. This means board members felt the work Keating and his staff did this year was compliant with state rules.
The deadline to file a formal appeal has passed but Keating said he's happy to meet with anyone to discuss their assessment.
Formal appeals are heard by the Natrona County Commission, which acts as the Natrona County Board of Equalization.