The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Assessor responds to writer's criticisms

 

April 26, 2018



To The Eagle:

I appreciate the opportunity to respond to the letter in this edition of The Eagle submitted by Michael Baccellieri. I wish to correct its inaccuracies.

Mr. Baccellieri states that I attempted to intimidate him by requiring him to complete a personal property tax form and by turning him in to the Department of Revenue. What he does not mention is that Washington State law requires county assessors to assess personal property and calculate taxes. If items of personal property are used in a business, and an exemption isn’t available, then property taxes apply. Property owners are responsible for filling out a form each year if they have taxable property.

Mr. Baccellieri owns a business called Welcome Slough Boatworks that advertises itself as a small boatworks shop and shows vessels that have been sold to clients on its website. Because of this, I sent him a personal property form to complete. Mr. Baccellieri told me in an email that he does not get paid for his services and objected to the personal property assessment. I sent this information to the State Department of Revenue, which provides advice to assessors on taxation issues, and it was determined that no personal property tax was due. I told Mr. Baccellieri and deleted the personal property account. There was no “investigation” or “accusations” involved, merely the inquiry that I am required by law to make. I appreciate the good work that he does through his boatworks company, but as assessor I cannot treat him differently than the other business owners in Wahkiakum County.

He also states that I built a new house on North Welcome Slough without permits and without assessing it. This is simply untrue. The building that he refers to is a small, traditional Finnish building called a “mökki” that my wife placed on her property. The value of this structure was added to the tax rolls in 2016 and was increased in 2017 as more work was completed. At someone’s request, the Wahkiakum County Building and Planning Department conducted an inquiry. Because of my role as assessor, I recused myself from acting on her behalf in the matter, and my wife retained an attorney to assist her in communicating with the county. The property that Mr. Baccellieri mistakenly identifies in his letter belongs to me and is bare land.

Although setting assessments according to the law can be a challenging task at times, I do my best to serve all of the taxpayers in Wahkiakum County in a fair and unbiased manner.

Bill Coons

Wahkiakum County Assessor

 

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