TUMBLER RIDGE ? More than 2,100 property owners in Tumbler Ridge can expect to receive their 2006 assessment notice in the coming days.

Assessments are the estimate of a property?s market value as of July 1, 2005. This common valuation date ensures that all properties are assessed fairly and there is an equitable base for property taxation.

The real estate market creates property value, which is reported annually by BC Assessment. Local governments and other taxing authorities are responsible for property taxation, and after determining their own budget needs this spring, will determine their property tax rates based on BC Assessment?s data. Note: Property owners should contact their local government, or taxing authority, for more information about their property taxes.

?Most homes on this year?s assessment roll are worth more than they were on the 2005 assessment roll, and market movement appears strong when compared to previous years,? said Peace River Deputy Assessor Anne Clayton. ?For example, a typical single family home that was assessed at $75,000 in the summer of 2004, was assessed at $95,800 in the summer of 2005.?

Changes in property assessments are reflective of movement in the local real estate market and can vary greatly from property to property. When estimating a property?s market value, a professional appraiser analyzes current sales in the area, as well as considering other characteristics such as size, age, quality, condition, view and location.

Overall, the taxable value of Tumbler Ridge?s assessment roll increased from $112 million last year to approximately $145.2 million this year. The residential portion increased from $79.7 million to $107.3 million. This growth reflects changing market values for many properties but also includes subdivisions, rezoning and new construction. As well, new coal mines within the District of Tumbler Ridge added $3 million to the major industry portion of the assessment roll.

For the 2006 assessment roll, the value of oil and gas properties in the Peace River Area increased by approximately $242.8 million from 2005.

?Property owners who feel that their property assessment does not reflect market value as of July 1, 2005, or see incorrect information on their notice, should contact the BC Assessment office indicated on their notice as soon as possible in January,? said Anne Clayton.

?If a property owner is still concerned about their assessment after speaking to one of our staff, they may submit a written request by January 31, for an independent review by a Property Assessment Review Panel.? The panels, independent of BC Assessment, are appointed annually by the Ministry of Small Business and Revenue, and meet between Feb. 1, and March 15 to hear formal complaints.

Assessments and Sales by Address are available for residential property owners to further assist them in understanding their property?s market value and to provide comparable sales information. This service is available on BC Assessment?s web site at from January 3 to March 15. Paper copies of Assessments by Address are also available at local area offices and most municipal halls, libraries and government agent?s offices across the province. Sales by Address is new for this year; market value sales that occurred three months before and three months following the July 1, 2005 valuation date, between A

BC Assessment and the property assessment process: Provincial Government?s Property Assessment Review Panels: Provincial Government?s Home Owner Grant program: Property Tax Deferment: