Archive for Thursday, March 15, 2007

Reprieve in valuation hikes welcome

March 15, 2007

Eudora homeowners accustomed to being hit with near double-digit increases in annual home valuations had to be pleased that trend eased this year. The overall median property value -- the point at which half the city's properties are valued higher and half valued lower -- went up by $6,000 from last year resulting in a 4.1 percent increase.

For the most part, the slowdown can be directly traced to last year's slump in the residential housing market. The lower appraisal increases should be viewed by most homeowners as a welcome but short-term reprieve.

The county appraiser's valuations are in essence the appraiser's estimate of market values, and as such valuations are always a double-edged sword. Increases are in effect tax increases, but they also assure homeowners their most valuable possessions were sound investments.

No matter how pleasing it might be to avoid the de facto tax increases associated with valuation increases, no homeowner could welcome the fact the appraiser found the individual's net worth declined.

Annual reappraisal numbers are poured over by local government officials as the first step toward the summer budget process. It is a blessing of Eudora's growth that both the city and school district saw relatively health tax base growth despite the modest increases to existing homeowners.

But as Eudora goes forward with the creation of a tax increment financing district for vacant acres to the city's northeast, they could also show just what areas of the city are in need of a boost the financing tool offers.

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