Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder: Appraisal Services (1310P)

Program Outcome Statement

Produce equitable, timely and accurate property tax assessment rolls
Program Services
  • Secured Property
  • Unsecured Property
  • Appeals


Annually, the Assessor’s Division values and enrolls all tangible property, including residential, commercial, agricultural and business personal property interests in the county. Assessor’s annual Roll includes 221,000 Real Property parcels and 15,000 Business Property accounts. The property tax generated by this activity is an essential revenue source for local government; therefore, it is imperative that the Roll be completed timely and accurately each and every year without fail.
The program preserves taxable value by defending property owner challenges to the Assessor’s opinion of value before the Assessment Appeal Board and the courts. In FY 2017-18, staff processed approximately 58,000 transfer, sale, new construction and remodel events that occurred when properties changed ownership, were newly constructed or altered by a remodel. Staff also reviewed approximately 2,200 properties for declines in value; another noticeable drop from approximately 3,900 in FY 2016-17. In addition, staff also audited major businesses for declaration compliance and reviewed annual business property declarations to accurately enroll business property asset acquisitions and disposals.

Assessment Appeal Backlog Meeting Target

Percent of Appeals Resolved by June 30 Meeting Target

Property Roll Value Average per Assessor Staff Meeting Target

FY 2017-18 Year-End Story Behind Performance

Assessment Appeals (Decreasing Backlog & Resolved Appeals)

When a property owner disagrees with the Assessor on the value on which an assessment is based, the property owner may appeal the decision to the Assessment Appeals Board. On average, 900 appeals are filed annually, with the Assessment Appeals Board.

Percent of Appeals Resolved by June 30

Percentage of appeals that are resolved annually is relative to the number of appeals filed, the number of appeals scheduled to be heard by the Assessment Appeals Board, the ratio of property types, and the complexity of the appeals.

The trend in the number of appeals filed annually is indicative of market conditions. In a down market, the number of appeals tends to be higher and the number of appeals tends to be lower when the market is moving upward.

During a down market the number of appeal filings is higher and the ratio of residential appeals is higher compared to commercial appeals. During an up market, the appeals ratio is reversed and the majority of the appeals filed are for commercial properties.

In terms of valuation, commercial properties are generally more complex than the residential properties thus commercial appeals typically take much longer to resolve.

Processing and scheduling the number of appeals to be heard and resolved is the authority of the Assessment Appeals Board (AAB). Each year, Assessor has consistently prepared and resolved all appeals that AAB has scheduled on the hearing agendas.

The analysis of the appeals for the past ten years indicates an average of 900 appeals are filed and an average of 49% of the appeals are resolved annually. FY 2017-18 is lower than the 10-year average having 35% of the appeals resolved, with only 529 appeals filed.  The reason is due to the increase in high value pending appeals that are making their way through the court.

Property Roll Value Average per Assessor Staff – Benchmark Measure

FY 2017-18 average roll value per staff was $2.6B.  In FY2016-17, the San Mateo County Assessor Division assessed an average of $2.5 Billion in property value per staff per year whereas the average of the 8 Bay Area Counties was $1.5 Billion per staff per year. This was due to three factors; a continued increase in commercial construction throughout San Mateo County, diversity of San Mateo County's combined roll, and low staff levels.

FY 2018-19 Mid-Year Story Behind Performance 

Appraisal Services performance measures are expected to meet the FY 2018-19 targets.  There are no factors or changes at this point in the year that would indicate otherwise. 

Future Priorities

  • Timely and accurately closing of the Assessment Roll.
  • In conjunction with IT, the development and implementation of the Assessor Property Assessment System (APAS).
Author: Jeff Bokura, Administrative Services Manager     Contact Email:     Date Created: 01-24-2019