June 11, 2014

Commission hears valuation concerns

By Chris Erickson

Last week the Mercer County Commission heard concerns on recent valuations during its Board of Equalization meeting. About two dozen residents came out to have their questions and concerns addressed by the board during the meeting.
Land Use Administrator/Tax Director Gary Emter began the meeting by detailing what the increase in valuations meant, and how it had come about for another consecutive year.
Emter stated that in the six cities alone in Mercer County, the true and full values had gone up $61.5 million in the past year. For rural areas - not to include farmland - that increase had been $32 million. The highest sale for that time had been for $2,500 per acre with several sales recently at the $1,400-1,800 per acre.
Emter explained that the purpose of his office was to value property at true and full value for tax purposes, that the county didn’t enact the rules but did have to abide by them. He added that anyone who felt their property was not assessed at market value or overassessed then those issues would be taken up. Most of the property owners on hand were residents of the county, not residing within any specific city.
Rick Meyhoff began the questions by asking Emter how the valuations came about. Emter responded that it was based off sales that took place the previous year.
“The 2014 value is based on what took place in 2013,” Emter said. “So we take a look at those sales. It’s not going to be an appraisal that a lender would send out. The county has to look at the entire sales through an area to arrive at a value and that’s typically applied on a percentage basis to individual properties.”


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