County holds equalization meeting

The Campbell County Commission met as the County Board of Equalization on April 11. No appeals of assessment valuations had been filed by rural residents in the county, but the board did review two appeals that had been acted upon by the city of Herreid local board of equalization.

Director of Equalization Jill Hoogeveen had increased residential properties in Herreid by 15% across-the-board. Residential properties in Pollock were increased by 20% across-the-board. Most of the discussion at the meeting on Tuesday centered around the increases in Herreid.

Hoogeveen gave a little history of taxable valuation versus full and true valuation. She explained taxable value was in the 85-87% range of full and true valuation when she first started her job in the county.

“In recent years that started increasing to where it is now at 100%,” she said. “That means that the full and true valuation is what your taxes are based upon.

“Based on sales (in both Herreid and Pollock), I had to increase the valuations,” Hoogeveen continued. “There is a state formula that I need to base my property valuations on.”

The county board then considered appeals brought to them from the Herreid board of equalization meeting. The appeals included three parcels from Andrew and Sheila Van Kuren (their residence and two separate lots) and one parcel (residence) from Tim and Abbie McNeil.

At the Herreid board of equalization meeting the assessed valuation on each of those four parcels was reduced to a 10% increase rather than the 15% increase as proposed by Hoogeveen. The county board moved to leave each of the valuations as set by the Herreid board.

The Board of Equalization also reviewed a list of valuation assessment freezes and/or exemptions. The list included: 19 elderly/disabled evaluation freezes ($526,537 in valuation reduction); five veteran exemptions ($223,148 in valuation reduction); 396.84 acres of flooded lands ($422,843 in valuation reduction); and 95.74 acres of riparian buffer strips ($60,692 in valuation reduction).

The board also reviewed a list of tax-exempt properties in the county, including those owned by local economic development organizations. Current state law allows economic development organizations to own properties with a valuation up to $750,000 to remain tax exempt. The state legislature this year changed that to allow economic development organizations to own properties with a valuation up to $2.5 million.

Discussion on the tax-exempt list centered around properties owned by economic development organizations but are operating as a business in the local community. Board members expressed frustration that there is not a process or requirement that those types of businesses should be moved from the economic development organization and put on the tax rolls just like any other business in the community.

“Unfortunately, the state sets the rules and regulations,” said board member Bob Shadwell. “The change made in the state legislature this year may only make the problem worse.”

Following the discussion, the board moved to approve all the tax reductions and exempt properties.

The county has a discretionary formula list, and there is currently $2,842,867 of property valuation on that list. The discretionary formula for commercial and ag properties sets assessed valuations at 20% of full and true valuation for the first year, 40% the second year, 60% the third year and 80% the fourth year before being assessed at full and true value in the fifth and all future years.

Hoogeveen also noted the county had $1,778,807 in growth in the past year. The amount of growth is important as it is one of the factors the commissioners can use when determining county tax rates.

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