Camp Fire Survivors Will Get Smaller Tax Bills Says Butte County Assessor

Feb 28, 2019

Credit Flickr Creative Commons

Butte County Assessor Diane Brown said semi-annual property tax bills are about to hit the mail, and Camp Fire survivors can expect smaller bills.  

 

The reductions won’t be huge, property owners are still responsible for the tax on their land, and for the improvements on their land — typically houses and other structures — from July 1 through Nov 7, 2018.  But those who lost their homes or suffered damage exceeding $10,000 will see prorated bills covering the rest of the year. 

 

Next year, bills will be smaller as the entire billing period is in the fire’s aftermath. Taxes on land will remain. 

 

Asked if those with damaged property must ask for a reassessment, Brown responded: “No, we will do those too.” 

 

She said her department concentrated on homeowners who had total property loss because it was the easiest chunk to get out of the way first.  

 

“The ones that are damaged and not destroyed are going to need appraiser’s eyes on to see how much damage there is, and so, we’ll start that process next week,” Brown said.  

 

There is other good news, though perhaps more long term: those who lost their homes have a good chance of keeping their Proposition 13 property valuations, even after they rebuild. 

 

“If they build exactly like what they had, even though they had a house built in the ‘60s and you can’t rebuild a house from the ‘60s because of current building standards, that doesn’t get held against them,” Brown said.  

 

As long as the structure is essentially the same to what is rebuilt there’s some latitude with appraisers.  

 

“I have communicated with my staff that, these are relief provisions, and I believe they should be interpreted liberally, you know you can’t rebuild an old house, but if you rebuild something that is similar now, we’re just going to put your base value back on there, just like nothing ever happened,” Brown said.  

 

In other important news, the deadline for signing up for Butte County’s alternative debris removal program was extended to March 15th. Under that, property owners must file an official application and Work Plan with the Butte County Department of Environmental Health, and then hire an approved contractor.  

 
The Alternative Debris Removal Program is separate from the official Government Debris Removal Program that had an earlier deadline that has expired.  

 

Those who decline both programs have been warned that the county will eventually conduct the work itself, likely using Cal-OES contractors and that they will also slap a tax lien on the property to reclaim the full amount.  

 

Debris removal is required for any destroyed structure larger than 120 square feet.  

 

Paperwork can be dropped off or mailed to:  

 

Butte County Environmental Health 

202 Mira Loma Drive 

Oroville, CA 95965 

 

The office is open:  

 

Monday – Friday 

8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  

 

The documents can also be emailed to alternativeprogram@buttecounty.net.  

 

For more information call 530-533-3880.