Drop in Merced property values leads California

Assessed property values across California fell this year for the first time in nearly eight decades -- and Merced County saw the biggest drop of all.

In fact, no other counties in California experienced declines even close to the level recorded locally, according to new data from the state's Board of Equalization, which tracks property assessments across California.

The total assessed value of all property in Merced County fell $2.6 billion -- or 13.4 percent -- compared with last year. The next largest year-to-year decline was 10.5 percent, in Riverside County.

Statewide, property values dropped 2.4 percent.

Because property tax bills are based on assessments, the sharp decline in property values will leave Merced County with far less tax revenue this year. Local cities and the county already have slashed their budgets as a result.

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