Total valuation up slightly in county

The total taxable valuation in Greene County for fiscal year 2019 increased 1.29 percent, with a decrease in the valuation of farmland in most townships nearly offsetting a healthier increase in urban valuations.

Pam Olerich, real estate and tax coordinator in the county auditor’s office, provided information to the supervisors at their Dec. 27 meeting. Total taxable valuation for the county is $655,727,000, an increase of 1.29 percent over the current year. The taxable valuation is based on property values as of Jan. 1, 2017. A year ago the increase was 4.01 percent.

Total taxable valuation in the county’s urban areas increased 4.67 percent to $184,259,500. The total valuation of farmland decreased .03 percent to $471,467,600.

The taxable valuation of farmland declined in almost every township for the coming tax year. Adam Smith, who was appointed last week as assessor with the retirement of Linda Spearman, explained that the value of farmland is based on 5-year productivity and the CSR (corn suitability rating), not the price for which it could be sold. “When it will come back up, I don’t know,” Smith said.

“Since most of our county is rural, it affected us more substantially than in counties around us,” Olerich said.

Valuation of farmland in every township except Franklin, Grant, Junction, and Paton declined, with Hardin seeing the largest decrease at 4.36 percent. Jackson Township was next at a decrease of 3.63 percent.

Farmland in Junction Township increased 9.65 percent. Grant Township was next at 1.58 percent.

For the current year valuations in every town in the county increased. For FY 19, city councils in Churdan, Dana and Rippey will wrestle with decreased valuation, with the largest being Rippey at a decrease of 5.69 percent. Valuations declined 1.24 percent in Churdan and 1.01 percent in Dana.

The supervisors credited improvements at Scranton Manufacturing for increasing Scranton’ valuation 7.83 percent. Paton’s valuation increased 6.64 percent and Jefferson’s increased 5.61 percent.

The value of property subject to tax increment financing (TIF) increased 26 percent to $21,826,700. The total for the current year is $17,319,000. The city of Jefferson is the only entity using TIF.

Sewer and water lines needed for Wild Rose Casino and Hy-Vee, as well as downtown improvements are examples of projects using TIF.

“Part of your valuation is in that TIF area. As those projects are completed, then that valuation will come back and you’ll get to use it. But until they’re completed, the valuation is primarily for their [the city of Jefferson] use,” Olerich said.

Taxable valuation in the Greene County school district increased 2.22 percent to $486,031,000, while the valuation in the Paton-Churdan district decreased .89 percent. The valuations will affect tax levy rates more than the districts’ “bottom line” because of the state’s school funding formula.

Olerich expects to have data about how Greene County’s valuations compare with adjacent counties in the next couple of weeks.

The taxable valuation is the first number in the formula used to figure levy rates required to meet the county’s revenue needs. The supervisors and auditor Jane Heun will have the FY19 budget (July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2019) completed in March.

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