County approves mill levies, note valuation down

SHERIDAN — As Sheridan County moves into its 2013-2014 fiscal year, the Board of County Commissioners has approved mill levies — or the assessed property tax rate used by local governments to raise revenue — to be used by the county and its incorporated towns and cities, college, school districts and various fire and weed and pest control districts for operations in the coming year.

Mill levy levels are set by determining how much revenue each taxing jurisdiction (cities, counties, schools, etc.) needs in the upcoming year and dividing that revenue projection by the total value of property in the area.

The amount of tax revenue the county will receive this year is $5,242,270, and the total assessed value of the county is $436,855,861. By dividing the tax amount by the county valuation, it is determined that the county can level 12 mills.

The amount of mills each government entity can collect is set by the state Legislature. In Wyoming, cities and towns can typically levy eight mills, counties can levy 12 mills, school districts can levy 25 mills and fire districts can levy three mills. Other entities such as recreation districts and weed and pest control districts can levy 1 mill.

Total valuation of the county is comprised of the total value of property in the county including state, industrial and residential properties. County valuation levels can vary greatly year to year.

State property values — determined by mineral production and pricing in the previous calendar year since many state properties are mineral based — decreased 40 percent in this year’s valuation. Last year’s state property assessment was nearly $155 million; this year it is just over $92 million. In 2009, when mineral production and pricing were booming, the state property assessment was $416 million.

This year, the county valuation of $436.8 million consists of the $92 million state property assessment and the $344.5 million assessment of all other properties in the county. This year’s valuation is down by 11.4 percent compared to last year, County Administrative Director Renee Obermueller said, meaning less tax revenue will be collected.

“We’re a customer of the taxation process,” Obermueller said. “If valuations go up or down, our revenues go up or down.”

Local property valuation increased 1.82 percent, meaning property taxes will increase this year.

Valuation of the county, cities, school and fire districts is determined by the county assessors office by adding up all property values in the district. Property values are set in January and are based on sales information from the previous year.

, County Assessor Paul Fall said. Residential property owners are taxed on the assessed value of their house, which is 9.5 percent of the total market value of the house.

Total property taxes for each property owner are influenced by what tax district a person lives in, Fall said. Sheridan County has 41 tax districts and taxes are influenced by which city, school districts and fire districts can levy taxes on any specific property.

For example, some tax districts have no fire district coverage so they may only levy 63.5 mills. The average number of mills levied in the tax districts is 69, and the total mills being levied in Sheridan County is 71.5, Fall said.

About

Hannah Wiest is the government and outdoors reporter for The Sheridan Press. She has lived in Colorado and Montana but loves her sunny home state of Wyoming best. She joined The Press staff in February 2013.

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