County property taxes on the rise

POLK COUNTY -- Ready or not, property tax statements will be arriving in your mailboxes next week.


POLK COUNTY -- Ready or not, property tax statements will be arriving in your mailboxes next week.

And most Polk County property owners will see an increase in what they owe.

Tax statements are scheduled to be mailed on Tuesday, Oct. 25. Taxes are due Tuesday, Nov. 15.

The overall assessed value of Polk County grew by about 2.5 percent from 2009-10 to $4.73 billion. The total amount of taxes, special assessments, fees and charges to be collected for all taxing districts in Polk County is about $73.7 million for the 2011-12 tax year, an increase of 3.7 percent from last year.

"The primary contributors for this increase is the 3 percent increase in assessed value allowed by law under Measure 50, the need to collect for bond repayment and new value that has been added to a property from any new construction," explained Douglas Schmidt, Polk county assessor.

"As with last year, with the declining real estate market, you would expect your property taxes to go down. However, Measure 50, passed by voters in 1997, does not have a connection between the real market value and the assessed value placed on a property."

The real market value listed on tax statements is the value the assessor believes your property would sell for on the open market as of Jan. 1, 2011. The assessed value is the value you are being assessed taxes on.

Schmidt said that currently in Polk County, the assessed value for residential property is about 84 percent of the real market value. Because your taxes are calculated on the assessed value of your property, the real market value can decrease but your taxes may still increase.

"The assessed value on your tax statement may only have increased by 3 percent from last year, but your total taxes may have gone up or down by a different percentage," Schmidt said. "Because each taxing district has a permanent tax rate that cannot be changed, tax differences from the 3 percent increase are primarily due to the bond repayment amounts needed for voter-approved bond measures."

The largest tax increase will be in the city of Dallas at nearly 4.5 percent. The lowest increase is the city of Monmouth at just under 3.6 percent.

"Again, the difference in tax increases is primarily due to the fact that taxing districts either needed more or less revenue to pay off their voter-approved bond obligations," Schmidt said.

There are also operating Urban Renewal Districts within the cities of Salem, Dallas, Independence and Monmouth that add to some tax bills.

"From these combined Urban Renewal Districts, approximately $2,595,700 ($1,963,400 for Salem; $382,450 for Independence; $133,600 for Monmouth; and $116,250 for Dallas) in taxes will be collected from the Division of Tax and Levies that goes towards Urban Renewal Projects," Schmidt said.

Schmidt encourages property owners to take this opportunity to review their tax statement for accuracy of information, such as the correct ownership, mailing and location address. If there are any questions or changes needed, contact the Polk County Assessor's Office at 503-623-8391.

Property owners who do not agree with the value placed on their property by the assessor's office will find instructions on the back of the tax statement on how to appeal to the local Board of Property Tax Appeals.


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