Valuation increases but still below 2009 level

After seeing a nearly $82 million drop in valuation last year in Big Horn County, the county and tax districts are seeing a positive change this year with a $38 million increase.

Big Horn County Assessor Gina Anderson said this week that the local valuation figures have been approved by the state and she is waiting for the official state valuation figures. The locally assessed valuation is at $93 million, up $4.789 million from last year. She said the unofficial total valuation for the county (with the uncertified state assessed valuation) is $264,0016,644, up $38 million from last year’s $225 million valuation.

She said the $38 million will mean $458,000 in additional revenue to the county budget from last year. The $264 million for the 12 mills that the county can levy for operations will generate $3,168,506 for the county in revenue.

The $264 million is still $43 million shy of the $307 million valuation the county enjoyed in 2009.

Anderson said the county saw 85 residential sales for 2011, which was an increase. Also increasing was the average sale price of residential homes at $123,517. The value of residential homes went up $1 million, she said.

Assessed value on agricultural lands increased from $14.278 million to $15.674 million for a $1.4 million increase. The highest class of irrigated land was $1,483 per acre in 2010 and in 2011 the highest class was valued at $1,631. There are 44,485 acres in this class, Anderson said.

The ag land values are based on the Wyoming 2011 Agricultural Land Valuation Study. According to the study irrigated land went up 4.38 percent, while dry cropland dropped 2 percent and rangeland increased 2.26 percent.

According to the Wyoming Department of Revenue, overall commodity prices were lower this year than last year, however, the capitalization rate dropped again to keep values close to the 2010 level.

While the state assessed valuation has not been certified and is unofficial at this time, Anderson said it is expected next week and there shouldn’t be any major changes. The state assessed valuation increased $33.4 million with the largest increases seen in oil at $16.9 million, bentonite at $15.5 million, gypsum by $351,193 and natural gas by nearly $1 million at $923,391.

Areas in the unofficial state assessed valuation seeing a decrease are railroad ($404,426), liquid pipeline companies ($213,428), municipal electricity ($22,287), major telecommunications companies ($6,203), cellular telecommunications companies ($62,244), and rural telephone companies ($288,915).

Recently,? Governor Matt Mead announced that the total value for minerals produced in Wyoming for 2010 hit $15.5 billion. That is up 23 percent from 2009 and is second only to the value from 2008. Governor Mead also said oil, natural gas, coal, bentonite, trona and uranium all saw increased values in 2010.

“This is another sign that in Wyoming we are headed in the right direction,” Gov. Mead said. “It is also a reminder of how big a role mineral production plays in providing us with revenue to keep taxes low and build our schools.”

“The money from this mineral production is a shot in the arm for our counties that are still coming out of the recession,” Mead said. “I will continue to push for the state to share its portion of the revenue with cities and counties so they can invest now when the cost of construction is down and the prospects for economic development are high.”

The taxable value of oil production statewide was up 34 percent in 2010 compared to 2009. Natural gas was up by 30 percent, surface coal by 6 percent, bentonite increased by 89 percent, trona by 7 percent and uranium by 44 percent. The only production that showed a decline in value was sand and gravel, which went down by 13 percent.

By KARLA POMEROY

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