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Property taxes rise by 10.9%

Government to collect more despite most tax rates staying the same

Staff writer

Although all but a few elected officials proudly announced no tax increases when adopting their budgets this summer, county taxpayers will end up paying $2.46 million — or 10.7% — more in property taxes this year because of assessment changes.

Final tax rates, replacing estimated rates on which budgets were calculated last summer, were released this month by county clerk Tina Spencer.

They also are reflected on tax bills that began being sent out last week.

The final rates show that the county as a whole will collect 12.9% more in property taxes this year even though its mill rate declined by 1.4%.

Among cities, Hillsboro will collect 3.9% more in taxes — $31,207 extra — despite reducing its tax rate by 0.3%.

Burns will get 3.4% or $2,571 more, but it had to increase its rate 16.2% to do so. Florence will collect 2.3% or $3,117 more despite cutting its rate 11.5%.

Lincolnville will get 2.5% less in tax revenue despite keeping its tax rate the same. Ramona will get 1.1% less. Tampa will get 0.5% less despite a 3.9% increase in its tax rate.

Most other cities — like Marion, with a 0.8% increase in revenue despite an unchanged rate — will get pretty much the same as last year.

The exception is Lost Springs, which will get 20.9% more revenue after increasing its tax rate 26.9%.

School districts were big winners. Centre will get 21.1% more revenue ($212,320) despite cutting its tax rate 2.3%.

Marion-Florence will get 19.3% more ($378,102) even though it cut its rate 1.5%.

Peabody-Burns cut its rate by 6.8% but still will get 14.4% more in taxpayers’ money, a windfall of $158,784. Hillsboro and Goessel will get 3.0% and 2.8% more, respectively, with virtually no change in their tax rates.

The county is the biggest winner in dollar amounts with $1.38 million more in taxpayer money set to arrive it its coffers once new tax bills are paid.

Next in dollar terms are four of the county’s school districts (all except Goessel) with windfalls ranging from Marion-Florence’s $378,102 to Hillsboro’s $78,524.

Newly formed Chisholm Trail Extension District has the sixth highest dollar amount of increased tax money, $34,319, followed by the City of Hillsboro with $31,207.

Only one taxing unit based in the county, the City of Lincolnville, will get less property tax money this year. Lincolnville will have $1,393 less despite a slight increase in tax rates.

Backdoor tax increases attributable to valuation changes were targeted a year ago by state legislators when they voted to require taxing units to conduct special public hearings justifying why they needed more tax dollars if their budgets were projected to raise more money, regardless of the mill rate set.

The vast majority of taxing units in the county conducted such hearings, but almost no citizens attended, and the meetings turned out to be pro-forma exercises only.

Figures used to calculate these numbers differ slightly from figures taxpayers will see on their tax bills. Figures on the bills, Spencer explained, include additional tax penalties owed to taxing units.

Many of the valuation changes in the county were attributable to expiration of a tax exemption on a leg of the Keystone pipeline running north to south across the middle of the county.

However, not all changes were one-time changes of that nature. Any property reassessed during the year impacts how much money taxing units receive.

Analysis by the newspaper of date provided by Spencer indicates that Marion County could have generated the same tax dollars as last year by cutting its tax rate by 8.58 mills.

The next biggest mill reduction would have come for the Marion-Florence school district, which could have received the same amount of property taxes by lowering its tax rate by 8.42 mills.

Here, based on final assessment totals, are the Top 10 taxing jurisdictions in terms of how much they could have cut their mill rate while still getting the same amount of tax revenue:

BIGGEST POTENTIAL RATE CUTS
TO YIELD SAME REVENUE

01. Marion County 8.58 mills

02. Marion-Florence schools 8.42 mills

03. Centre schools 6.50 mills

04. Peabody-Burns schools 6.07 mills

05. City of Lost Springs 3.98 mills

06. Colfax fire district 2.50 mills

07. City of Burns 2.40 mills

08. Hillsboro schools 1.78 mills

09. City of Hillsboro 1.64 mills

10. City of Florence 1.63 mills

And here, regardless of windfalls from assessment, are the 10 highest mill rates among county taxing jurisdictions:

Highest tax rates

01. City of Ramona 105.531 mills

02. City of Peabody 104.859 mills

03. City of Lehigh 85.301 mills

04. Marion County 75.017 mills

05. City of Florence 73.315 mills

06. City of Burns 72.594 mills

07. City of Marion 71.994 mills

08. City of Goessel 67.231 mills

09. Hillsboro schools 61.807 mills

10. Goessel schools 58.513 mills

The lowest tax rate among cities is Lost Springs’ 23.072 mills. The county’s largest city, Hillsboro, charges 43.427 mills.

Among school districts, Centre is the lowest at 39.586 mills. Among improvement districts, Pilsen charges the most at 14.209 mills compared to 3.400 for Eastshore and 2.127 for Marion County Park and Lake.

On a typical residence with a fair market value of $89,000, a mill translates to about $9.79 in taxes annually.

Last modified Nov. 24, 2021

 

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