The Yet Another WCCUSD WTF (What the Funicular) Moment post was put up before board meeting. The board did actually receive a report and discuss (actually mostly just Ramsey and some Kronenberg) how to strong-arm the County Assessor into being less inclined to maintain lower assessments. Now I have the clip so you can listen and be awed. Here is the clip on local TV where the County Assessor, Gus Kramer, expresses his side.
What is this all about? The best explanation can be found in a recent SF Chronicle piece on the latest assessments. Basically, if the market value of your house is less than the Prop. 13-set assessment (based on the sale price), you can have the assessed value of your house set to the market value on a year-by-year basis until it catches up with what the regular Prop. 13-set assessment would be. The system is set up to protect the taxpayer, not the government. (The Board agenda did a very bad job of framing the issue.)
What Mr. Ramsey seemed to be demanding was that Mr. Kramer increase the market valuations for such homes across the board to be more “realistic,” so they would be higher. It was never stated how much he thought this would raise in additional taxes.
Mr. Kramer begged off appearing before Mr. Ramsey on Mr. Ramsey’s chosen ground, a School Board meeting, saying everyone should wait till the latest assessments were released to discuss things. These have been released. Primarily because of the Chevron fire and the decline in its assessment, the WCCUSD assessment will decline 5.9%.
So, what was the point of this? It seems odd that Ramsey would be focusing on squeezing small homeowners with no clear target for increased collection. It’s not odd if you just look at this as a mere gesture. The tax rates were going to go up anyway, because a completely new bond authorization was passed in 2012. The whole saga of the drop in assessed valuation leading to higher taxes was just a different story line to distract attention from the fact that a whole new bond authorization was coming to roost.