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Shifting property values drive tax statement changes

Shifting property values seem to have had more of an impact on individual property taxes than increases in levies, if Thursday night’s McLeod County truth-in-taxation hearing was any indicator.
After a few opening comments by County Board Chair Joe Nagel, County Assessor Sue Schulz explained some of the changes in market valuations, upon which property taxes are, in part, determined.
Schulz said that valuations are based on property sales. In general, the price paid on farm acres is declining, while prices paid for residential housing is going up.
“Ag land went down, and residential went up, so there has been a shift from agriculture to residential because of that,” said Schulz.
And there is another impact on residential values — once a home’s value reaches $76,000, the homestead exclusion, which provides relief to homeowners, is lessened.
“The theory is that if you can afford a more expensive home, you shouldn’t be receiving as much credit,” said Schulz.
That means property taxes are assessed on an even higher value for homes valued at over $76,000.
Cindy Schultz-Ford, auditor-treasurer and acting county administrator, explained that the time to appeal increases or decreases is in April as each taxing entity holds an assessment hearing. However, she said Schulz would make herself available for individual questions. At that point, most of those who attended the hearing got up and left the room to visit with Schulz to discuss their valuations.
For more from the county tax hearing, see the Dec. 13 print edition of The Chronicle.