LIHUE —Katherine Lewi Otsuji was recently appointed as a new member of the Board of Review.
“I am just happy to be able to give back to the community,” she said regarding her new voluntary role.
Members of the Board of Review, which was established in 1987 by the Kauai County Code, are responsible for hearing real property tax appeals. Appeals can be filed based on various claims, such as when the assessed value of a property exceeds more than 15 percent of the ratio assessment to market value, according to the County of Kauai’s website.
Otsuji was born and raised in California but moved to Kauai in 1984. She has served as a full-time real estate appraiser on the island for more than 25 years.
She’s a good fit for the position because of her long-time professional experience, said Boards and Commissions Administrator Ellen Ching.
Moreover, Otsuji has represented clients who have appeared before the Board of Review so she is “aware of the rules and regulations” regarding real property tax appeals, Ching said.
“I have the ability to be a neutral and unbiased third party,” said Otsuji when asked why she thought she’d make a good addition to the team.
“I have firsthand valuation experience,” she said. “My experience has given me insight into the various neighborhoods and market trends for Kauai.”
She said that tax assessments are based on mass appraisals. To assist, Otsuji will be conducting individual appraisals on what she called a “case-by-case” basis.
“It is easy to misunderstand a property and that would result in an unrealistic value,” she said. “If an owner thinks that their assessed value is too high they can file for an appeal. I can help by taking a closer look at a specific property.”
Otsuji’s term will expire on Dec. 31, 2021.
“Her willingness to sacrifice that part of her business and her willingness to serve is a wonderful combination of smarts and a giving heart,” Ching said. “We thank her and we look forward to her contributions.”
The cost to file an appeal is $25 for properties that are owner-occupied and $75 for all other properties. Paperwork can be obtained at the Real Property Assessment office at 4444 Rice Street.
Coco Zickos, county reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or firstname.lastname@example.org.