Archive for Thursday, March 9, 2006

Eudora property values keep pace with rest of county

March 9, 2006

Although the community was just shy of the county growth rate for property valuations, most Eudora residents will find a slight increase this year on their appraisal notices.

The increase follows growth trends in both population and development for the city.

On the whole, Eudora's total assessed evaluation jumped 8.9 percent from last year.

Although still trailing Lawrence (12 percent) and Baldwin (11.7 percent) in terms of the actual property valuation growth rate, the jump surpassed De Soto's overall increase (6.85 percent.)

"I think the market increases hold true to what's happening across the county, or in Eudora as the city grows the value becomes more valuable," City Administrator Cheryl Beatty said.

The current total evaluation for Eudora topped out at $35.7 million, more than $3 million more than last year's total of $31.9 million.

Eudora's assessed growth has been climbing steadily, having jumped 14 percent since 2003.

The median property value, the point at which half of the city's properties are valued higher and half are valued lower, also increased for the third time since 2003.

The current median value for residential properties with four units or less for Eudora is at $140,800.

The figure marks an increase of 9.3 percent from last year's median home value, which was at $131,600. The increase is about 2 percent higher than the jump in the 2004 valuations.

Douglas County residential appraiser August Dettbarn shies away from using averages to translate the county's findings to homeowners.

"The average is a really ugly number to a statistician like myself," Dettbarn said.

When using an average, the numbers could appear skewed, for instance, if a house has a fire and is devalued one year and then is rebuilt and doubles its value in the next year, Dettbarn said.

Eudora's growth kept up with the county, which expanded its value by almost 11 percent.

The 10.8 percent increase is the highest in three years, as the appraiser valued the county at $975 million.

"New construction typically amounts to 2.5 to 3.5 percent of the valuation percentage increase," Douglas County Appraiser Marion Johnson said.

In 2005 Douglas County's assessed valuation jumped 8.4 percent. It increased 8.3 percent in 2004.

Douglas County Administrator Craig Weinaug said he was a little surprised at how much the valuation increased based on the nation's economy during the past year.

"But it's a pleasant surprise because it's a reflection of positive things going on in the Douglas County economy," Weinaug said.

The county, however, could take a monetary "hit" because the Kansas Legislature is considering various legislation that will reduce the county's revenue streams, like a bill that would exempt commercial and industrial machinery and equipment taxes beginning in 2007.

"All the major tax cuts that they are considering in the Legislature don't affect the state. They affect the local governments," Weinaug said. "The only alternative that the local governments have is the property tax."

Tax valuations were mailed to property owners last week, but it is too earlyto determine exactly how the valuation totals and individual notices will be affected by taxes. But they can get some indication, Weinaug said.

If you presume that the county's mill levy stays even, then you can presume that someone with a 10 percent valuation increase will see a 10 percent tax increase. The mill levy never stays even, but you don't know for sure what your taxes are going to be until the mill levy is set, Weinaug said. That occurs later in the year after budgets are determined by local taxing entities.

A mill is $1 of tax for every $1,000 of assessed property valuation.

------ Lawrence Journal World reporter Mike Belt contributed to this article. He can be reached at mbelt@theworldco.info.

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