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Morning Sun
  • County hears early valuation figures

  • When it comes to early assessed valuation for Crawford County, county appraiser Mike Montgomery had one message for county commissioners: Don't expect much.

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  • When it comes to early assessed valuation for Crawford County, county appraiser Mike Montgomery had one message for county commissioners: Don't expect much.
    Montgomery was at the commission meeting to tell commissioners that 2013 valuation notices were mailed out on Friday. With 24,100 parcels of real estate in the county, there's a lot of property to watch. Residents will have 30 days to appeal the valuation by calling the County Appraiser's office at 724-6052. But while these are the 2013 valuation notices, Montgomery noted that they are really reflective of 2012 prices.
    "It says 2013, but we're looking at 2012, really," he said. "We're valuing the property as it sits on January 1, so if it's still being constructed, we put a partial completion on Jan. 1, and come back next year when it's complete."
    As far as the early and expected valuation, Montgomery first noted that some construction may be exempt, such as new churches or new hospitals, and therefore won't show up on the valuation. But all told, the county shouldn't expect a huge increase.
    "Commercial and residential markets [which make up a majority of county valuation] are quite flat and stable," Montgomery said. "No large upward or downward trends because of that. So we expect valuation to stay the same."
    For instance, looking at new home construction, Montgomery said the county had seen about 50-60 new homes built, which is slightly lower than the last few years, which have seen about 60 new homes. That said, he also noted that about 10 years ago, the county had been seeing about 100-110 new homes being built in a given year.
    But commercial and real estate are not the whole story about valuation. There are two other factors: agricultural land and a new property tax bill.
    As far as agricultural land, the figures are based upon a complicated state formula which involves type of soil and an eight-year average of use value. In total, Montgomery said there is a little good news for the county in agricultural use.
    "Agricultural land is up about 10-12 percent this year. That's pretty substantial. They figure at the use value and productivity of that particular soil," Montgomery said. "The history of ag values, we're up 10-12 percent this year. But last year, crop ground was up 13 percent, but in 2012, pasture land was down slightly. In 11, cropland was up 2 percent and pasture was down 1 percent. But the four years before that, they were down 8-14 percent each year."
    The other factor this year will be a bill making its way through the state legislature. Effectively, it could change the way business property is taxed. If passed, the bill is projected to lower Crawford County's assessed valuation by about 0.65 percent. Other counties, however, with Montgomery County at the center of the issue and the most affected, could be affected by as much as 54.5 percent.
    Page 2 of 2 - "I'm afraid we really don't know. That's what they say [0.65 percent] but we don't know how it's going to be interpreted," Montgomery said. "The legislature has an idea what they're writing, but we don't know how the courts will interpret it. We're worried once the representatives and lawyers get a hold of it, it'll have a bigger effect."
    Commissioner Bob Kmiec noted after the meeting that it all adds up to very little change in valuation.
    "Any valuation increase we would see would be on the ag land. But that could be offset by this [bill]," Kmiec said. "But they don't know yet how it'll affect us or if the bill will pass."
    The commission also agreed to close the County Courthouse at noon on Friday, March 29, in observation of Good Friday.

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