Local property owners received less sticker shock overall on their property valuations in 2019.

Property valuations in Benewah County saw modest increases in some areas, but generally avoided the sudden increase that struck area homeowners in 2018. Valuations also showed a higher amount of new construction in the region, suggesting growth.

Seven property owners in Benewah County appealed their valuations, asking that they be reduced due to mitigating circumstances. The county’s Board of Equalization is in the process of hearing those appeals, and will decide whether to reduce their valuations after those hearings. The deadline for filing new appeals has passed.

Benewah County Assessor Donna Spier leads the property valuation efforts each year. Appraisers are sent to area properties to judge various aspects, including lot size, location, amenities and structures. The data collected is then collected and Ms. Spier determines what each is worth on the open market.

“We look at what people around the area pay per acre on land, and then add structures with a depreciated replacement cost,” she said. “We then make market adjustment and look at what happened in sales in the area to determine the valuation.”

In 2018, residents received a shock when those market forces caused valuations across the county to jump by 15% in one year, from $611.5 million to $703.4 million. This year’s increase is more modest, with an estimated property valuation of $739.4 million for the entire county.

Ms. Spier said that most county residents saw small changes to their valuation – with the exception of some high-demand properties including river-front properties. This year the county also saw an expansion in new building, with a valued $7.7 million in properties seeing new construction.

“It’s been a pretty quiet year,” she said.

In total, seven property owners filed appeals to the valuations with the Board of Equalization, which consists of members of the Benewah County Commissioners. Three of those parties have already been seen, with the remaining four expected to appear at the board’s next meeting.

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