May 13, 2010

Report: Tax levies in county remain low

Report: Tax levies in county remain low

By STU MERRY

The North Dakota League of Cities has released its 2009 taxable valuation and tax levies for North Dakota cities.
What it shows is that total levies in McLean County communities are generally lower than most cities in Mercer, Mountrail, Ward and Morton County cities. The McLean County average is 250. The community with the highest total levies is Underwood with 310.29. The lowest is Butte at 188.72.
Broken down, the majority of the county tax dollar goes to education with state and county (in most cases) being second. Cities generally receive the third highest amount of funds from levies.
According to county officials, the significance of the lower mill levy is that on the same valued property in McLean County as in one of the neighboring counties, residents are, for the most part, paying a lower property tax in McLean County.
Though some residents might disagree, it all boils down to total levies.
For example, Mercer County’s total levy averages 336 (Stanton 359 to Pick city’s 301). Mountrail County’s average stands at 312 (Stanley 377 to White Earth’s 259). Sheridan County’s average is 316 (McClusky 341 to Martin’s 290).
Other neighboring counties are similar. The Ward County average is 278 (Minot at 350.63 and Donnybrook at 243.89). In Morton County, the average is 441 (Mandan at 497 and Almont’s 355).
Korgel said it’s all about mathematics, noting that on the same value property, if a McLean County city’s mill levy is lower than another’s, the tax bill will be lower.
“It is the same formula across the state,” Korgel said. “You could argue what determines the value of the property. For instance a $100,000 home in Garrison is a much nicer home than a $100,000 home in Mandan, or for that matter, Washburn. That is because home values are higher in Washburn and Mandan than in Garrison. But in this case we are comparing the same value of property.
The taxable valuation of property in the county totals $35,078,965. McLean County officials explain that the taxable valuation listed for the county and the cities is the amount that the mill levy is put against.
“(But) tis not the true and full value,” Korgel pointed out.
He explained: “For instance, a $100,000 true and full value house multiplied by.50 would create the assessed value ($50,000), then by .09 ($4,500) to get the taxable value.
 


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