Coquitlam rolls in the $ from reassessments

BC Assessment has completed its Desktop Review Project for Coquitlam, which resulted in $700,000 more for the city. - image submitted
BC Assessment has completed its Desktop Review Project for Coquitlam, which resulted in $700,000 more for the city.
— image credit: image submitted

A closer look and a tech tool resulted in a big bump to Coquitlam's tax rolls and an extra $700,000 on its bottom line.

The completion of BC Assessment's Desktop Review Project (DRP) resulted in $228 million in assessed property value being added to Coquitlam's current $30-billion roll.

And that increase from reassessments has translated to an additional $700,000 to the tax base, city finance staff said this week.

The DRP also wrapped up this year in Burnaby and New Westminster, which are part of the agency's North Fraser region. The updates in those two cities added $355 million to Burnaby's $66-billion roll while an extra $111 million went on the Royal City's $13.7-billion roll.

Zina Weston, North Fraser's deputy assessor, said the DRP, a program launched in 2009 in Nanaimo, is designed to enable appraisers to have the complete picture of a property — including aerial photos — at the tip of their fingertips rather than go out to the site to assess a property in person.

This allowed them to see, for instance, whether there have been improvements that may add to the assessed value of a property.

"We've always had street-front photos, sketches of the footprint and inventory on the home," she said. "What we've been able to do now, in a co-ordinated fashion, is add in orthophotography and oblique photography."

Weston said assessment authorities have had access to aerial photos in the past but with the DRP, those images are now instantaneously fed to the database along with electronic building plans and permits, administrative boundaries, infrastructure and topography.

BC Assessment's integrated IT system is expected to start in Port Coquitlam and Port Moody later next year or in 2015. Weston said the DRP is now a standard operating practice for the Crown corporation, looking at additions and deletions from home improvements.

Ongoing reassessments were done — on a smaller scale — in Belcarra last year when appraisers visited every home in the village. And this year, a quarter of Port Moody homes were also reassessed with many of the DRP tools but not the mapping, Westin said.

As well, self-reporting questionnaires were sent to 20% of PoCo homes this year.

BC Assessment keeps a database of more than 1.9 million property records.


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