To propose to Council a new model of real property taxation for the island of Kauai, to satisfy the following criteria:
- Assessments may vary, but the taxes are to be equitable for the overwhelming majority
- The system should be legally defensible
- The process of assessment is to be systematic and uniformly applied
- Ease of implementation and monitoring by the County’s Real Property Division
- Supports the financial viability of the County
- Will consider the restructuring of property use categories, and classifications
- The systems should be understandable and generally acceptable to the taxpayer
- Provide meaningful recourse for the taxpayer in a functional appeal process
- Beginning about 1998 large increases in real estate sales prices have resulted in comparable large increases in real property tax assessments.
- The increases in assessments initially affected limited areas, but have recently begun to spread island wide.
- Many of those hit hardest by increases in assessments were longtime residents and small farmers.
- The increases in market value assessments affect only the land portion of the assessment since buildings are assessed by a cost approach.
- Market value land assessments, sometimes called “highest and best use” assessments, may not be the best approach for a small island community that tends toward a slow growth philosophy.
- Property taxation on Kaua’i is primarily used for administration, goods, and services rather than for education and large capital improvements.
- In general, property taxes should be allocated to those properties that make the most use of County services.
- The value of the improvements on a parcel should be a better indicator of demand for County services than the market value of the underlying land.
- Ag dedication should be primarily for commercial farmers.
- Long term rentals should be encouraged.
- The appeal process should be made less necessary and more humane.
- Overall, the property tax system should be more equitable, predictable and understandable.