The assessor's principle function is to assess all property within Bingham County at a current market value and to maintain records of the ownership of all property within the county. The assessor is also charged with registering motor and recreational vehicles, and with disbursing the applicable licenses and permits.
The ad valorem (property) tax is the primary source of revenue for county and city governments and other taxing entities that serve and protect our communities such as library, ambulance, fire, flood, cemetery, and school districts. Property tax provides the most stable, predictable source of revenue for local government, since it is not subject to the fluctuations of the economy as are sales and income taxes. It is the assessor's duty to assess the properties within the county uniformly and to the specifications of Idaho law so that all properties are taxed fairly and equitably. The assessor does not set taxes. The taxes are determined by the budgets that each taxing district turns in annually.
Idaho law requires that property within the county be assessed at current market value and must be physically reappraised at least once every five years. The assessor's office analyzes sales price, construction costs, rent and other pertinent data to estimate the correct valuation of the property. All appraisal evaluations are monitored by the State Tax Commission to ensure compliance with state law and all evaluators within the state must follow a continuing education program every two years to remain certified.
The Assessor's Office also is required to keep track of property ownership changes, maps of parcel boundaries, and to plat parcels as they are split from larger parcels. The office must also keep descriptions of building and property characteristics files current as well as keep track of individuals and property eligible for exemptions and other forms of property tax relief.
Another function under the direction of the Assessor Office is the motor vehicle department. This department reviews and processes titles, registrations and issues license plates for automobiles, trucks, recreation vehicles, mobile homes, motorcycles, boats and other special use vehicles as an agent of the State Department of Transportation.
Future Service Projections
Over the past few years we have seen some tremendous growth in Bingham County, Especially in the area of residential construction. We have also seen some improvement in the construction of commercial properties within the county. With this new growth it will and has increased the workload of the County Assessor's Office to keep up with the re-evaluation of all these properties. Because of this growth we must look for more efficient ways to evaluate and map these properties. We will be looking for new and improved computer software to help us in the re-evaluation process as well as the computer mapping process that is well underway in Bingham County. We have been using a computer mapping program for several years now and will be looking at integrating that system with a GIS system this summer.
Service Level Projections
At this time the Assessor's Office is operating at an adequate level of service for the workload demand. We are able to process our deed and mapping projects in a timely manner and our reappraisal staff are keeping up with our five year reappraisal plan. We have also been to keep long lines at our motor vehicle counter at a minimum. These processes could be enhanced or cut back depending on the desires of the public. If enhanced it could put strain on already tight budgets and force tax increases, which does not seem to be an option at this time. If cutbacks occur the processing time of our deeds will be affected tremendously. We could lag behind in our five year reappraisal plan and begin to see long lines at the motor vehicle counter. In the future we will continually evaluate our office to provide optimum service with the least amount of expense to our taxpayers.