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Value of ag land jumps – again

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Douglas County tax statements and valuation notices will be sent out this week.

The County Assessor’s Office maintains an estimated value and a classification (based on actual use) on each land parcel in the county. The market value is supposed to be what the property would probably sell for if placed on the open market.

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During last week’s county board work session, County Assessor Keith Albertsen said people who own tillable agriculture land in Douglas County will notice the greatest increase.

Once again, that land’s value is on the rise – an average 20 percent jump over last year’s value. Last year, some landowners saw as much as a 45 percent value increase on their tillable acres.

HOW ARE VALUES SET?

Each year the assessor’s office reviews land sales from the previous year to determine the sales ratio that will affect values in the upcoming year.

Albertsen explained that there’s a two-year delay in the process of studying the sales and seeing the effect on the property tax.

He said, “The process of getting that tax statement out started back in 2011 because the state has us use sales that happened October 2011 through September of 2012. Those sales are used to set the 2013 values, which is then used to set the 2014 taxes. It’s a long process.”

The 2013 assessment year (for taxes payable in 2014) started with a 76.12 percent median ratio and after adjustments to the values ended up at 93.76 percent. The 2014 assessment year (for taxes payable 2015) using sales between October 2012 and September 2013, started at 82.08 percent and after adjusting values, ended up with a 94.43 percent median ratio.

The state requires a median ratio of at least 90 percent.

“It was a fairly steep increase and again, the more tillable [land] that was on a parcel, the higher the percentage of the increase,” Albertsen said.

What else determines tillable ag land value?

Albertsen explained, “We changed from the Crop Equivalency Rating (CER) to Crop Productivity Index (CPI). That’s become the new standard for using a soil survey to judge the quality of agricultural ground. It’s a method for us to use to try to balance out the poorer quality tillable soils from the better quality.”

Douglas County had been using CER for about 25 years and Albertsen said CPI has become the new standard used by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, appraisers, ag services, auctioneers and some irrigation installers.

Albertsen noted, “For the last several years, the market has been flat for residential, seasonal and commercial properties and the sales ratios for them have remained over 90 percent so they have seen little value change. This magnifies the tax effect on increases on ag land value.”

DETERMINING COUNTY LAND VALUE

● Douglas County has approximately 30,000 parcels. The County Assessor’s Office maintains an estimated value and a classification (based on actual use) on each of them. The market value is supposed to be what the property would probably sell for if placed on the open market.

● There are essentially five classifications: residential, seasonal, apartment, agricultural and commercial/industrial. Additionally, the property is either homesteaded or non-homestead.

● Values are established as of January 2 of each year. The sale prices of properties that are sold are compared with their assessed values to determine whether the assessed values of the district meet state requirements.

● Notices are mailed to each property owner in the spring of each year advising the owner of the property value and classification and the process to appeal if the owner disagrees.ouglas County has approximately 30,000 parcels. The County Assessor’s Office maintains an estimated value and a classification (based on actual use) on each of them. The market value is supposed to be what the property would probably sell for if placed on the open market.

● There are essentially five classifications: residential, seasonal, apartment, agricultural and commercial/industrial. Additionally, the property is either homesteaded or non-homestead.

● Values are established as of January 2 of each year. The sale prices of properties that are sold are compared with their assessed values to determine whether the assessed values of the district meets state requirements.

● Notices are mailed to each property owner in the spring of each year advising the owner of the property value and classification and the process to appeal if the owner disagrees.

Source: Douglas County Assessor’s Office

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Amy Chaffins
Amy Chaffins is a journalist working for the Echo Press newspaper. After graduating from St. Cloud State University, Amy’s first job was at KSAX-TV working as an anchor and reporter. From 2003-2010, Amy worked as an editor and reporter for the Pope County Tribune and Starbuck Times newspapers. During her journalism career, Amy earned writing and photography awards from the Associated Press, Minnesota Newspaper Association and Society of Professional Journalists. Amy and her husband, Brandon, live in Alexandria and together write “He Sez, She Sez,” a humor column in the local women’s magazine, Chicz
(320) 763-1242
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