County valuation up



April 4, 2013 - 12:00 AM

Allen County’s assessed valuation of real property — such things as homes, land and buildings — increased by $1.3 million from a year ago, Appraiser Sandy Drake told county commissioners Tuesday.
The valuation stands at $66,111,095.
Last year’s total valuation was $96,004,713, with real property accounting for $64,820,147. The remaining $31,184,566 was for personal property, which is determined by state appraisers and is such things as industrial equipment, fixtures in commercial settings, and utilities, including oil and gas pipelines, railroads and power lines.
The agricultural category accounted for the largest increase in real property valuation, going from $11 million to nearly $11.9 million. Commercial property declined nearly $150,000, to about $16.9 million, while residential property increased a little less than $500,000, to $30,646,710.
Statements alerting property owners about new valuations arrived in mailboxes this week.
The significance is that total valuations within each governing unit, such as the county, college or city, will be used to determine mill levies when budgets are constructed this summer for 2014. For example, if commissioners were to decide to keep the county’s levy as is, more tax dollars would be raised because overall valuation is higher. Conversely, if they decided to keep tax dollar collections the same, the levy would decrease.
That’s what Ed Bideau, who represents most of Allen and Neosho counties in the Kansas House, calls an invisible tax. He supported legislation that would require a specific vote by governing bodies to raise more tax dollars in that manner.

ANOTHER legislative aside is that debate at times this session has centered on removing most personal property from the property tax equation.
The estimate is that Montgomery County would lose more than half of its assessed valuation because of the preponderance of a refinery’s personal property.
Allen County and the governing units within it also would take a hit; about $30 million of total valuation is in personal property.
Monarch Cement Co., Humboldt, is the county’s largest single payer of property taxes at nearly $850,000 this year. It’s valuation is $5,228,668, of which $3,253,929 is personal property.
Next in line is Iola’s Russell Stover Candies. Its property tax bill this year was just over $583,500, based on total valuation of $3,3322,407, of which $1,874,907 is personal property.

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