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The assessed value of real estate in the county floated a bit higher this year while assessed value in the city sank like a stone.
The city’s assessed real estate value declined by $1.4 million, according to preliminary information released by Brian Stivers, the county’s property value administrator.
Assessed real estate in the county went the other way, increasing by nearly $3.6 million.
Stivers said the reason for the decline within city limits is primarily due the ongoing rash of foreclosures, which drives down the value of nearby homes.
The county’s increase is almost exclusively due to the ongoing expansion at Wild Turkey Distillery, which is outside city limits.
“The only thing that saved [the county] is Wild Turkey,” Stivers said, who added that the sale of the distillery three years ago, coupled with last year’s construction of a new distillery, has now been fully assessed.
Assessed residential property wasn’t the city’s only decline. Stivers said the new Burger King in front of Walmart, while not part of this year’s assessed value because it wasn’t completed by the Jan. 1 deadline, also played a role.
He said the assessed value of the land on which Burger King sits was roughly $900,000, but the company that bought it paid nearly $600,000 less.
Because assessments are done in part based on comparable properties, Stivers said that sale triggered a reduction of the nearby strip plaza that houses Little Caesar’s Pizza from $1.5 million to $1.2 million.
“That’s $300,000 right there,” he said.
Overall assessed real estate value countywide is now nearly $1.277 billion. In the city, the assessed value is just over $540 million.
Stivers said he reassesses property on a quadrennial plan, which means every property is supposed to be reassessed every four years.
He said he understands that lower total property values can result in less revenue to taxing districts such as the schools and library, but he is obligated to assess property at what it’s worth.
“I don’t want people to pay more than they are supposed to,” Stivers said. “The market is what it is. If a house is like the one beside it but sells for $15,000 to $20,000 less, the first house needs to be reassessed.”
The higher assessment of Wild Turkey marks the third time in as many years that the distillery has proved a taxation boon for countywide taxing districts, which includes the fiscal court, schools, health, library, fire and Extension.
The distillery is slated to grow again after announcing a $44 million new bottling facility that should be operating next year.
Stivers said it’s unlikely, however, that the additional value will be on next year’s assessment because it’s unlikely to be operation by Jan. 1, 2013.
What it means
A decline in the city’s assessed value means that city government will receive less money if it leaves its tax rate at the current level of $1.78 per $1,000 of assessed value.
Overall, the city would realize about $2,500 less than it received last year.
Countywide districts would each get a boost in revenue if they leave their rates the same.
For instance, the fiscal court’s revenue would increase from just over $7,000, and the schools would receive just under $30,000.
The library would get an additional $10,000, and the health department about $3,000.
The county fire department would increase about $8,000, and the Extension would increase about $800.