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Mat-Su residents with earthquake damage urged to get property values checked

PALMER -- Hundreds of residents of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough reported damage from the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that rocked Southcentral Alaska on Nov. 30.

But the borough property assessor says he’s heard from only a few dozen wondering if their quake-damaged homes could qualify for lower taxes.

Property owners have until March 1 to appeal property valuations used to calculate taxes.

About 1,500 Mat-Su residents have applied for state disaster assistance available to people whose property was damaged during the earthquake.

So far, however, only 30 residents have contacted his office, assessor Brad Pickett told the borough assembly during a meeting Tuesday night.

Pickett said he doesn’t want people with damage significant enough to reduce the market value of their homes to miss out on a reduced assessment.

“I think there’s a lot of damage out there that people just aren’t reporting to us yet,” he said Wednesday.

The borough is hoping to send letters to Mat-Su residents who applied for state disaster assistance.

Hundreds of damaged Anchorage properties could qualify for assessment changes. Property owners got notices of damage from Anchorage building officials who conducted inspections. Mat-Su doesn’t have that authority, so residents had to hire private inspectors.

Pickett said that could be a factor in the relatively low level of calls for quake damage assessments.

The borough in late January mailed out notices for 2019 property values on blue postcards. Values and basic property description are also available on the borough website.

Property owners who want to talk with the assessor’s office about earthquake damage effects can call 907-861-8642.

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