Total taxable valuation up for county

The increases most property owners saw in their assessments in 2018 make the news Pam Olerich gave the county supervisors Monday not a surprise. The total taxable valuation in Greene County for fiscal year 2020 increased 4.51 percent, the largest increase in the past five years.

Olerich, real estate and tax coordinator in the county auditor’s office, called the figures “good numbers,” and added, “we’re slowly improving all the way around.”

Taxable valuation in the county’s urban areas increased 4.08 percent to $191,780,723. Taxable valuation of farmland increased 4.67 percent to $493,506,939. The county’s total taxable valuation is $685,287,662.

The total taxable valuation has increased each of the last five years, but this is the greatest increase. Since FY16, the county’s total valuation has increased 9.9 percent; the FY16 total valuation was $617,189,200.

Increases in valuation in the county’s towns ranged from 1.4 percent in Paton and 1.44 percent in Scranton to 10.41 percent in the portion of Ralston in Greene County. Olerich said county assessor Adam Smith was unable to explain the increase in Ralston but he’s looking into it. The increase in Jefferson was 4.64 percent, up to $139,819,630.

Valuations increased in every township, with Junction Township increasing a hefty 8.46 percent. Olerich explained the wind turbines north of Rippey account for much of the increase. Valuations increased the least in Willow and Greenbrier Townships, with increases of 3.05 and 3.1 percent respectively.

The valuations for the current fiscal year (FY19) had declined in every township except Franklin, Grant, Junction and Paton.

Looking at school districts, total taxable valuation in the Greene County district increased 4.68 percent to $508,790,798. Total taxable valuation in the Paton-Churdan district increased 3.85 percent to $117,836,676. (Due to the complex school finance formula and the various sources of school funds, an increase in property values does mean the schools will have more revenue.)

The calculations are based on property as it was Jan. 1, 2018. The total taxable value of property subject to tax increment financing is $18,762,151, a decrease of 14 percent. Olerich called that good news, saying that it means the property is now generating enough tax revenue to pay for the infrastructure improvements paid for via TIF.

In the FY20 calculations, the city of Jefferson is the only taxing body using TIF. The FY21 calculations will show the TIF district the county created to include the first 41 turbines of MidAmerican Energy’s Beaver Creek wind project. The increment from that district will be used to pay on bonds (to be issued in the coming year) for the regional career academy.

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 FY20 budget (July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020) completed in March.

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