SHERIDAN — The county will start assessing property taxes for land owned by the Sheridan Economic and Educational Development Authority in 2019, according to County Assessor Paul Fall.
Fall said the change was made after a meeting with the Wyoming Department of Revenue where he was told the county should be collecting property taxes from SEEDA properties.
SEEDA operates as a joint powers board between the city of Sheridan and the Northern Wyoming Community College District and Fall said considering that arrangement, he assessed SEEDA properties the way he would properties owned by a government entity, which would exempt them from property taxes.
Brenda Arnold, the administrator of the Property Tax Division of the Wyoming Department of Revenue, said she reached out to the county after a private citizen contacted her office about the county’s decision not to assess taxes to SEEDA properties.
According to Arnold, SEEDA should be considered a community development organization based on Wyoming statutes, and community development organizations are only afforded limited exemptions from property taxes.
The state statute defines a community development organization as “a group of private citizens organized as a business entity authorized to do business in this state for the purpose of working with new, existing or expanding business for the creation of new jobs, capital investment and other economic or community development benefits throughout its community or county, which organization is authorized as a nonprofit commercially oriented organization.”
Arnold added that property belonging to governmental entities are only exempt from property taxes if it is used for a governmental purpose.
“Even though the county or city can own property, how the property is used makes a difference in the exemption status,” Arnold said.
Fall said he is still calculating what the county will charge to SEEDA. Based on the statue, infrastructure on properties used by community development organizations, such as curbs, gutters and road are exempt from property taxes, so the value of that infrastructure needs to be subtracted from the value of SEEDA properties when assessing property taxes.
According to the county’s GIS and Interactive Mapping website, SEEDA currently owns approximately 38 acres of property in Sheridan County. That includes roughly 29 acres in the Hi-Tech Business Park, 1.4 acres in the Sheridan Commercial Park, one acre in the Suburban Gardens subdivision, roughly one acre in the Palmer Addition and five acres along East Brundage Street.
SEEDA administrator Robert Briggs said he does not yet have enough information about the new taxes to comment on how the change will affect SEEDA going forward or where the funds to pay the county’s property taxes will come from.