After five weeks and 500 photographs, Mike Renfro and his crew of five have finished inspecting property for the Petersburg Borough assessment.
Renfro works for Appraisal Company of Alaska out of Anchorage—the company the borough contracted to conduct the project.
In segments between July through October, Renfro and his team inspected around 350 improved properties out the road on Mitkof, Kupreanof and other ancillary areas.
When asked what an average day was like Renfro responded jokingly, “Rainy.”
The bulk of Renfro’s job during an inspection was to head out, knock on doors and talk to people in order to get a general description of each property. The type of construction, number of stories and outbuildings were some of the characteristics he was looking for. Another thing was the type of oceanfront the property had.
Renfro said he took into consideration all the issues people brought him. Features like the length of a tidal flat to a ferry wake’s effect on boats will be quantified in each property’s assessed value.
“You make notes and keep track of all that stuff so you can put it into the equation when you start to do the values,” Renfro said.
Renfro said that while the people he talked to weren’t all receptive they understood he was just doing his job.
“The fun part is going out and looking at everything and meeting people out in these rural areas,” Renfro said.
He was surprised and interested in some of the properties that were off the grid but still had access to amenities offered in most hotels—like the rural property he visited that had satellite television.
“The person that used that cabin could go out there, start his small generator, turn on his receiver for his satellite dish and watch Sunday football on his TV,” Renfro said.
Now Renfro has the task of compiling the data and running the numbers.
“If you sit in an office all the time and you have an opportunity to go out and look at things, it’s much better. I’d rather do that than sit in an office and push a pencil all day. But pushing a pencil is part of the job,” said Renfro.
He expects to have the assessed valuation done by January 1.
Property tax assessments will be mailed by March 1 and residents will have until March 30 to appeal those assessments.
Steve Giesbrecht, Borough Manager, said the borough is expecting a higher than average number of appeals.
Residents who are 65 and older and disabled veterans are eligible for property tax exemptions up to $150,000 and volunteer fire, EMS and search and rescue members are eligible for up $10,000 in exemptions. Up to two exemptions for volunteers are allowed per household and
anyone filing for an exemption must apply by February 15.