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County tax increases vary locality


  nbsp;When Jefferson County property owners receive their tax statements next week, they will see increases ranging from above average to insignificant.
   Leading the way is Culver, with a typical tax bill increase of 4.23 percent. Residents will pay $22.33 per $1,000 of assessed value -- the highest rate in Central Oregon. On a home with a taxable value of $100,000, that translates into property taxes of $2,233 for the year.
   "Culver's increase in tax rate was influenced by the 5.65 percent increase in their school bond rate, as well as the county jail levy increase," explained Patsy Mault, county assessor.
   In years past, bond rates usually decreased over time as property values increased. "However, in recent years, bonding companies have developed a sliding scale for payments that anticipates value growth," she said. "In the Culver School District, they anticipated higher growth than was actually realized."
   Rural Madras and city of Madras residents will see the next largest increases. Residents outside the Madras city limits can expect an increase of about 3.74 percent (to $16.74 per $1,000), while Madras residents can expect to pay about 3.56 percent more ($21.28 per $1,000 -- the second highest rate in the county).
   "The increase in tax rate for both the city of Madras and the Madras rural area is primarily due to the 8 cent increase in the jail operating levy, a 3.67 percent increase in the jail bond rate, and a 1.62 percent increase in the aquatic center bond rate this year," Mault noted.
   Crooked River Ranch residents will see a minor increase of 1.86 percent in a typical bill -- the lowest in several years -- although the tax rate declined from $16.49 to $16.30 per $1,000 this year.
   "Despite the rate increase for the jail operating levy, the tax rate in Crooked River Ranch decreased this year, primarily due to a sizable decrease in the Redmond School District bond rates," she said.
   By paying off their sewer bond, Metolius residents will see a decrease in their tax rate, from $20.98 per $1,000 for 2005-06 to $20.37 per $1,000 for 2006-07.
   Since 2004, the real market value of the county has more than doubled -- from $1.1 billion to the current $2.36 billion.
   This year, the county's real market value increased by about $288 million -- $76 million of which was new construction -- although assessed values only went up $63 million. Of the $63 million assessed value increase, $36 million was new construction.
   "Both the real market value increase of $76 million for new construction and the $36 million in assessed value due to new construction represents very healthy increases for the county," Mault said.
   Unfortunately for the county, because of Ballot Measure 50, passed in 1997, which capped the annual increase in assessable value at 3 percent, taxes on new construction are assessed at a considerably lower rate than older homes.
New homes pay less
   

   As a result of Measure 50, each county must determine a "changed property ratio," by figuring out what percentage of the real market value the assessed value is. Last year, the countywide rate was 57 percent. This year, it has dropped to 48 percent, which means that new homes built this year will be taxed on less than half of their real market value.
   For example, if a homeowner has a new home built with a real market value of $200,000, the homeowner will pay taxes on only the $96,000 taxable assessed value -- 48 percent of the real market value. The owners of older homes -- built in 1995 or earlier -- pay taxes on a much higher taxable assessed value.
   In Culver, Mault owns two homes -- each with a real market value of about $85,000 -- which exemplify the difference in taxation. Her older home, built in 1970, has a taxable assessed value of 68 percent of the RMV, while her new house, built in 2004, has a taxable assessed value of 53 percent of the RMV.
   The county's changed property ratio (CPR) -- the taxable assessed value divided by the real market value -- has dropped precipitously since the measure was passed, going from 67 percent in 2001 down to the current 48 percent.
   Mault predicts a CPR of around 20 percent in 2010, which would mean a new $500,000 home would have a taxable assessed value of $100,000. This year, a new $500,000 home pays taxes on just $240,000 worth of value. An older, $300,000 home might pay the same amount in taxes.
Who gets the tax?
   

   By far, most tax money goes to support schools (47 percent), followed by county services (31 percent), fire protection and cities (6 percent each), Madras Aquatic Center (4 percent), and hospital and library (2 percent each).
   The Madras Urban Renewal District will receive $236,172 this year -- up from $189,879 last year. The URD receives a small portion of the taxes collected by each local taxing district that includes the city in its boundaries. It does not increase taxes.
   This year, property tax information is available online. To check on your own -- or someone else's -- go to www.co.jefferson.or.us. Click on "Elected Officials," and then "Assessor." Under useful links, click on "Assessment and Taxation" and follow instructions.