Property valuations in Cuming County are up considerably in 2012, which has both taxpayers and those who ask for their tax dollars concerned.
Cuming County Assessor Cherie Kreikemeier certified the valuations last Tuesday. The total valuation for the county is up more than $214 million from a year ago and now stands at $1.73 billion. As we noted in a front page story this week, if that increase holds form next year, the county will surpass the $2 billion threshold next year.
Valuation growth can be a good thing, if it’s growth. Here’s where caution comes in when looking at Cuming County’s numbers.
Of that $214 million in higher valuations, only $16 million was attributed to growth. That means more than 92 percent of the higher valuation comes from upward adjustments of property that’s already there.
Most of the adjusting fell on the agricultural sector in the form of higher ag land values. And, as we noted earlier this year in stories about those rising farm land values, the spike in land prices likely means an even bigger jump in valuations next year.
So far, two of the taxing bodies that set budgets have held budget discussions, and we’re happy to report they plan to lower their tax levies.
Cuming County’s Board of Supervisors cut its tax levy 2 cents yesterday after its public budget hearing, and the West Point Public Schools Board of Education is eyeing a 4-cent levy cut, and will hold its public hearing Sept. 9. Those levy cuts won’t translate into tax cuts for most of the ag land owners, but the reductions will help soften the blow.
And, while $16 million in valuation growth is good, it further demonstrates the importance of economic development. The more “growth” the county has, the more the tax burden is being spread out.
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Curt Pate led an interesting – even for a city dweller – workshop in West Point last Tuesday on low stress cattle handling.
He talked to his audience of cattle producers about keeping cattle calm and getting them to easily go where you want them to. During his session I couldn’t help but think about asking him to do something similar on low stress people handling. But when he said he wasn’t fond of things like shouting at cattle and zapping them with a prod, I decided he wasn’t the man to lead the presentation I wanted to hear...