Residents will see taxable valuation rise throughout the county
BY BROOKS TAYLOR
Mt. Pleasant News
Taxable valuations have increased in Henry County as of Jan. 1, albeit modestly, according to information released by the Henry County Auditor’s Office.
The county along with all municipalities and three of the four school districts, showed gains in valuation ranging six-tenths of a percent to 9 percent.
The City of Wayland led the way with a 9-percent increase. Wayland’s taxable valuation rose from $19,665,653 to $21,439,114.
Beverly Conrad, city clerk, said she didn’t know what factors figured into the increase but had several ideas. “Some of the (property tax) abatements came off. We also annexed some land and had some new homes built. We just continue to move forward.”
For most taxing jurisdictions, the valuation increase won’t produce a significant increase in property tax receipts, but an increase is better than the alternative.
Mt. Pleasant’s valuation had a modest 2 percent increase, rising to $278,967,340 from $273,164,970.
City Administrator Brent Schleisman said the increase would mean property tax revenue would show a slight increase. “When health insurance premiums go up 15-20 percent, you’re still in the hole despite the valuation increase.
“I am sure the taxable valuation of residential (property) has gone up some,” he continued. “I think it (increase) is the combination of growth and the readjustment of property valuations. We’re pleased (with the increase), it’s nice to see growth.”
Mt. Pleasant and New London School districts notched 4 percent valuation increases to lead school districts. WACO was up six tenths of a percentage point, and Winfield-Mt. Union had a 9-percent decrease. School district valuations only include property in Henry County. Most of the county school districts expand into neighboring counties and also receive property tax revenue from those counties.
Valuation in the Mt. Pleasant Community School District increased from $500,142,817 to $521,668,283. New London’s valuation went from $99,255,844 to $103,395,073. WACO’s valuation increased by under one thousand dollars, from $92,843,341 to $93,424,881. The valuation in the Winfield-Mt. Union School District dropped from $76,524,096 to $71,027,937.
A significant reason for the decrease valuation in the W-MU School District was the drop in farmland valuations in townships surrounding the school district. Because Winfield and Mt. Union are small towns, much of the valuation for the school district comes from agriculture.
In Canaan, Scott and Wayne townships, three townships in the W-MU School District, taxable valuation dropped $12 million from 2015 to 2016.
Henry County Assessor Gary Dustman said the county has been mandated by the Iowa Department of Revenue to use a new system for ag land valuations called the corn suitability rating (CSR). “The CSR utilizes our GIS to do calculations,” he explained.
The use of the CSR reduced some land values in the northern part of the county, Dustman said, while increasing valuations in other parts of the county.
“Individually, some value changes were significant due to the methodology,” Dustman said. “While agriculture values (in the county) on average remained the same, some of the higher land values came down and some of the lower land values increased.”
Regarding the Winfield-Mt. Union School District, Dustman said “most land values went down in that school district.”
Henry County’s total taxable valuation was $805,646,834, compared to $783,065,671 in fiscal 2017.
Following are the taxable valuations in the remaining county municipalities. The 2015 valuation is listed first, followed by the 2016 valuation.
Coppock, $206,054, $210,469; Hillsboro, $3,610,259, $3,655,780; Mt. Union, $2,592,500, $2,617,929; New London, $39,286,400, $40,281,597; Olds, $5,357,692, $5,482,231; Rome, $1,178,068, $1,213,223; Salem, $5,233,640, $5,329,933; Westwood, $5,295,631, $5,427,036; Winfield, $20,899,072, $21,258,154.
The 2016 valuations are for property taxes payable in September of this year and March 2018.