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

More on assessor's office


April 19, 2018

To The Eagle:

Don Kinney is absolutely on the money with his observations about capping property taxes (letter in last week’s Eagle). A fine distinction, though, is that tax rates must be controlled, but so must valuations. Bill Coons came into office replacing a well-meaning but hapless lady who was unable to control or undo the work of a renegade tax appraiser who jacked up property values and then disappeared over the horizon. Joining the effort to get Bill elected, I cited Howard Jarviss’s California property tax-capping Proposition 13 in 1978, and noted that in a fair world, property values would be assessed at what you paid for your property and remain the same until you sold (you wouldn’t even need a tax appraiser). Unfortunately, setting limits on either tax rates or valuations requires action by state legislators – a far reach for us simple rustics.

Bill Coons did a creditable job of getting the assessor’s office back on the tracks, but, as noted by several others in these pages recently, it seems to be derailed again. My own grumbles concern having our Irish wolfhounds arbitrarily treated as a business enterprise and some imagined related equipment being assigned a fabricated value and placed on the Personal Property tax rolls. Our repeated protests to Bill have been met with flippancy and sarcasm, and then ignored. Irritating, because our wolfies have spent their spare time putting on lure coursing events and parades for the public’s amusement; certainly not making us any money.

Brian McClain told me of his intention to throw his hat in the ring some time before the present tax kerfuffle started. Many of us know him as an able and articulate auctioneer, and he’s a military veteran with a broad range of experience – just the man to provide a steady hand at the helm of the assessor’s office. We were happy to support Bill in attaining his present position, and now would wish him a happy retirement – let’s give Brian a shot at this challenging job.

Howard Brawn

Puget Island


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