Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 26, 2018

Property Tax Rollbacks Coming

By Mike Jorgensen
Mike Jorgensen

One of the pieces of legislation that was passed in this last year’s session was a rollback of property taxes for agriculture properties and commercial, industrial and railroad properties.    Valuations are a key factor in the determination of property taxes for schools, county and cities.  How this rollback will directly affect the Washington Community School District’s future property tax rate is still unclear until valuations have been reported.  Preliminary estimates we have seen show that it will have minimal impact.  We hope that is the case.  One thing for sure, everyone is going to be affected by these changes in valuations in either a positive or negative way in determining your taxes.
The taxable value for residential property is currently 54.4002 percent of the assessed values.  This is an increase from the 2012 level of 52.8166 percent.   Residential property includes farm dwellings.  Residential property value has grown minimally in recent years and is not anticipated to see much growth in the near future.
The taxable value for agricultural property is 43.3997 percent of the assessed value.  This is a decrease from the 2012 level of 59.9334 percent.   This is the most significant impact in the new legislation.   Valuation for agricultural property has grown significantly in recent years and is anticipated to continue to grow.  
The taxable value for commercial, industrial and railroad properties is 95 percent of the assessed value.  This is a decrease from the 2012 level of 100 percent.  It will go to 90 percent for FY 2016 budget purposes,  so that may put a little upward pressure on rates - but if Ag and residential both grow by 3 percent, that should overcome the loss according to our finance consultant.
No adjustment was ordered for utility property because its assessed value did not increase enough to qualify for a reduction.  Utility property is limited to an 8 percent annual growth.
The Washington Community School District tax rate for 2013-2014 is $14.64.  We have steadily decreased this rate from an all-time high of $17.40 four years ago.  It is our hope to maintain this level and not have to increase rates over the next few years.   We do not anticipate any significant decreases either.  Valuations are a significant factor in the maintenance of a property tax rate, so we will be closely monitoring how these rollbacks will affect future rates.  It is our mission to manage the property tax dollars efficiently for patrons of our district.