Correct steps taken in revaluation

Tammy McKiernan of the Benton County Assessor's Office says all proper procedures were followed in the revaluation of the home and property of an assessor's office employee this summer.

McKiernan said the valuation on the Prosser-area home of Patty Yahne had to be redone to correct a mistake.

"There was no special treatment. If she feels she was cherry-picked, she can appeal," said McKiernan, who is a property sales analyst with the county.

Yahne claimed the revaluation, which boosted her property's valuation by $21,000, was in retaliation because she refused to remove a campaign yard sign.

Yahne contends her employer, County Assessor Barbara Wagner, told her to remove the sign, but Wagner has denied that repeatedly.

McKiernan said Wednesday that the assessor's employee who originally reviewed Yahne's property mistakenly classified it as a two-story home because a new bonus room was built above the garage. It should have been classified as a single-story home. That was the only reason for the revaluation, McKiernan said.

Yahne filed a protest on the new value, and a hearing is scheduled Nov. 11 before the county board of equalization.

"We are very offended by this," McKiernan said. "If we do something unethical, we can lose our jobs. What we're doing (as assessors) is fair and equitable."

Yahne said she isn't protesting the new value on her property but hasn't been given a report listing classification errors and noting the error on her property.