Wednesday, September 15, 2010

County sets 2011 tax levies

Property values fall, tax per dollar rises


By KATHERINE WUTZ
Express Staff Writer

Though the new tax levies set by the Blaine County Commission on Monday are significantly higher than last year's, those increases won't translate into significantly higher taxes for county residents.

The commissioners voted to increase the property tax rate from .09 percent to .11 percent, which translates into an approximately $20 rise per $100,000 of assessed property value. But since property values in the county have gone down, county residents will not see as large a rise in their total tax bills as this increase would suggest.

An increase is to be expected, said county Treasurer Vicki Dick, as a levy to support the Blaine Manor facility in Hailey will account for an additional $9.32 per $100,000 assessed property value. The levy, approved by voters in August, will fund the skilled-nursing facility's operating shortfall for three years until an independent tiered-care nursing home can be built.

The additional tax rate increase is due to lower property values in the valley. The county needs to collect $11.3 million in property tax revenue for fiscal year 2011, up $1.1 million from last year. Leslie Londos, deputy county clerk, said the increase is due in part to the Blaine Manor levy, but also includes taxes on new construction, which account for about $89,000 of the increase.

Because the amount of revenue required by the county has gone up and the assessed value has gone down, the levy is weighed over a smaller pool. The dropping property values decreased the county's taxable base, causing the levy rate per dollar of property value to rise.

Commissioners voted on Sept. 7 not to raise total property tax revenues taken from homeowners by a state-allowed 3 percent, saying the tax burden on county residents had already increased with the Blaine Manor levy. Not including the Blaine Manor levy and taxes on new construction, the amount of revenue the county will collect in property taxes this year will remain the same.

County property taxes may be paid in two installments, the first of which is due to the county treasurer by Dec. 20. For more information, contact the county Assessor's Office at 788-5535.

Katherine Wutz: kwutz@mtexpress.com

Blaine County tax levies

Wonder where the money is going? Here are some of the county levies for the next fiscal year, given in amount per $100,000 in property value:

Current expenses (including basic county services): $59.38

District Court: $.79

County Fair: $.03

Public Health Department: $2.41

Historical Museum: $.23

Charity and indigent funds: $2.83

Revaluation: $4.71

PSF bond redemption: $7.41

Noxious weeds: $2.19

Blaine Manor levy: $9.32

Land, water and wildlife levy: $15.92

Liability insurance: $1.67

GRAND TOTAL: $106.89




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