Property values in Emery County are going up because of a huge demand from buyers and a small supply of homes available. There is a buying and building boom in the county and properties are selling for more than they have in the past. The Utah State Tax Commission looks at surveys from people buying property in the county and compares these figures with actual appraisal figures from the county.
The entire county will be looking at increased property values and all property owners will see a value increase.
Vacant lots are being sold for more money than their assessed value. Kris Bell, county assessor informed the commission of one lot valued at $1,500 that sold for $19,500. Bell said they are looking for a happy medium which will make both the state and the taxpayers happy.
Buildable lots have a higher value than those not buildable. To be considered buildable the lot must meet the criteria to be improved.
Homes and land are valued separately. The land the house is located upon is valued separately than the house. If the buildable lots in the county are valued at a fair rate then maybe those sitting upon lots will be more inclined to sell those lots. The increases will vary from area to area.
The market values will most often follow the trend of the economy in an area.
The ratios the state sets must be between 90-110 percent of mean (average). If not, the state is required by law to come into an area and correct the difference. Currently Emery County does not meet the mean and property values will need to be adjusted to bring Emery County in line with the 90 percent minimum.
Bell said one problem the assessor's office has had in the past was that former commissioners wouldn't allow them to put a lot value on vacant land. It has been a struggle for them to keep up with land values without being able to assess a lot value to vacant land.
Commissioner Drew Sitterud said it bothers him that the large utilities have decreasing taxes each year and the residential tax payers are hit with higher bills. Centrally assessed properties are harmful to the local tax payers.
Commissioner Jeff Horrocks said the tax commission deals with rural areas the same way they do the big cities and many of these taxes are forced upon us. Emery County has large blocks of public lands from which no taxes are collected. He said one size does not fit all when it comes to taxes. Centrally assessed properties should pay their fair share of the tax burden.
Another problem the county has if they do not act to bring the mean in line, the state will come in and do so to the tune of 100 percent. If the county takes action now to move their valuations up to the required 90 percent they will be able to avoid the state doing it for the county in a state mandated factor order.
Bell needs to have all of her work on the numbers completed by May 22. The commission made a motion to bring the property values in line with the minimum of 90 percent required by the state.
The commission made a motion that the assessor's office do this work.
Tax rates from the state aren't known until June. The assessor's office will complete the required work on the property valuations and when the tax rate is set in June, the clerk/auditors office will prepare the disclosure notice which is mailed to the property owners in July.
The assessor's office only sets the value. Emery County is already being taxed at the highest possible rate, so if the market values go up and property taxes increase the tax rate should be lowered to keep the county in line within the perimeters set by the state.