Increases in property assessments discussed at FCAG meeting

Fremont County Assessor Tara Berg spoke to city mayors about increases in property assessments at the Fremont County Association of Governments (FCAG) that took place on Thursday in the Community Hall at the Shoshoni Fire Station.

“You know that values are going up,” Berg said. “Your constituents will be seeing some increases. It’s good news for cities because we know you’re not going to be doing deficit spending, not so great for taxpayers.”

Before State assessments, Lander is looking at an average increase of 12% citywide (rural excluded). Riverton is up at about 6%. Pavillion came in stable at a 2% increase. Shoshoni, stable down 3%.

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“The reason that’s become kind of stable is that properties the city has had, came off the market,” said Berg regarding Shoshoni’s assessments. “We took some pretty big properties off the tax roll, with the park. You’ve done a lot of work over here for your constituents.”

Dubois came in at the highest, with an increase of 21% (in town, not including rural). Berg said that she’d like to set up some town hall meetings. “That was very beneficial for Dubois last year, and I think it answers peoples’ questions.”

Berg said that city budgets aren’t going to be affected as much this year as far as mill levies. State assessments have yet to come in, and she expects those to be stable.

“What that means to your constituents is that people get upset when they see any increase. It’s really hard; it’s going to be a hard year. Things are moving, things are happening; that’s good for the county, but it is going to be hard as taxpayers and your constituents come in.”

Berg said that it is important for property owners to come into the assessor’s office.

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“We’ll look at anything you have,” she said. “If you have an appraisal, if you’ve had market analysis, keep in mind the timeframe of those. The most important thing is to come in and see how it’s valued. You’re probably not going to be happy about that, because there is no easy answer this year. This is the toughest year in the 26 years I’ve been here.”

Property owners can take advantage of the Property Tax Relief Program administered through the Department of Revenue, and the Veterans Property Tax Exemption program. Applications can be found at the Treasurer’s office. Berg encourages the public to take advantage of those opportunities.

Click here to read our earlier post about property tax increases.

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