NEWS RELEASE, JANUARY 1: Property owners in the Tumbler Ridge area are now receiving their 2004 assessment notices, according to Peace River Deputy Assessor, Anne Clayton. In British Columbia, assessment notices are delivered every year to property owners. Approximately 2,000 assessment notices have been mailed to property owners in Tumbler Ridge. All properties in the province share a common valuation date, July 1, 2003. This provides an equitable market value base for property taxation. The real estate market determines the value of property and BC Assessment reports that value to the property owner and taxing authorities, Clayton said. Market Movement Most houses on this year?s assessment roll are assessed at a similar value compared to last year. Market movement is stable when compared to previous years. For example, a single family home that was valued in the $35,000 to $47,000 range in the summer of 2002, sold for $36,000 to $48,000 in the summer of 2003. Sales indicate a much stronger market subsequent to September 2003. Roll Growth The taxable value of Tumbler Ridge's Assessment Roll has changed from $89.7 million to $80.3 million in the last year. Changes in the Assessment Roll from year to year can reflect change in market value, but also includes subdivisions, rezoning, new construction and demolition. Change in the Tumbler Ridge Assessment Roll is mostly due to the closure and continued dismantling of Bullmoose and Quintette coal mines.? Clayton said. Independent Review BC Assessment's Office in Dawson Creek has assessments by address available for property owners to view. This provides individual property values which can be compared to similar properties in the community to help owners determine if their property was fairly assessed. Lists of assessments by address are also available in Tumbler Ridge's Municipal hall, local libraries and government agent's offices and on the BC Assessment web site at www.bcassessment.bc.ca If any property owners feel their property assessment does not reflect market value as of July 1, 2003, or the information contained on their assessment notice is incorrect, they are encouraged to contact BC Assessment directly, Clayton said. If after talking to BC Assessment, property owners still have a concern about their assessment, they may request an independent review of their assessment from the Property Assessment Review Panel. The Property Assessment Review Panel is a three-member panel appointed annually by the provincial government to independently review property assessments. The panel hears evidence to determine if a property has been valued or classified correctly, or if exemptions were properly applied. Neither the Property Assessment Review Panel nor BC Assessment has jurisdiction or control over taxes or tax rates. Only property assessments may be reviewed. Property taxes, as set by local tax jurisdictions, cannot be appealed. Property owners who currently have an unresolved appeal before the Property Assessment Appeal Board from a previous year should note that they will need to request a review by the Property Assessment Review Panel if they have a concern with their 2004 assessment. The deadline for property owners to request an independent review of their 2004 assessment notice is February 2, 2004. A written request for review must be delivered to their assessment office or postmarked by that date. Any questions on assessments should be directed to the local assessment office. Electronic Assessment Notices available by epost Property owners who would like to receive their 2005 notice(s) electronically can now register to do so at Canada Post's epost web site: www.epost.ca. Moved? Property owners who have recently moved are reminded to contact BC Assessment to ensure their new mailing address is recorded correctly. If the 2004 assessment notice is not received by January 15, 2004, property owners are advised to contact their local assessment office. The Peace River Area Assessment Office is located at 1112 – 103rd Avenue, Dawson Creek, BC. During the month of January, office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday – Friday.