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10-06-05 Mercer County property taxes expected to go up

By Tim Cox

  Mercer County property owners should find out sometime next month how much the value of their land -- and subsequently their tax bills -- will go up for next year.

  County officials recently completed the six-year reappraisal that will reflect the property tax payments that will be due in February. County Auditor Mark Giesige said he expected overall values to rise by 10-15 percent.

  "There will be an increase," Giesige said. "Certain pockets will see a larger increase than others. It also looks like lakefront property will again see a larger increase."

  State officials can order changes to local property taxes if they believe local property values are not reflective of the overall real estate market. That could push values even higher, Giesige said. The state tracks every real estate sale and makes adjustments based on market trends.

  The reappraisal process occurs every six years. County staff and hired private-sector appraisers have spent more than two years looking at every single parcel in the county, Giesige said.  A triennial update is done midway through the six-year process. Three years ago, the update resulted in a modest 2.7 percent overall increase in property values, Giesige said.

  The tax should not hit property owners with the big spikes many saw six years ago.

  "It's not going to be like past reappraisals," Giesige said, noting some properties have lost value.

  The estimated 10 to 15 percent bump in property values will not translate directly to the same increase in taxes. Because of a 10 percent rollback available to residential property owners, the actual tax increase should be lower than that amount.

  However, businesses no longer benefit from the 10 percent rollback, a result of the most recent state budget bill. That essentially translates to a 10 percent increase in property taxes for business owners before the reappraisal is even factored into the equation.

  Also, current agricultural use values for farmland have been reduced. That likely will be offset by slightly higher values for all other parcels of land, Giesige said.

  All property owners will receive a letter sometime in November detailing the effects of the reappraisal.


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