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Parcel-by-parcel reassessment is underway

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Reassessment of county property has begun again.

Trending and other changes in how property is valued in recent years has put many counties in Indiana, including Clay, behind in collecting accurate information on the value of a home.

In August 2007, the Tyler Technologies/CLT Division, Dayton, Ohio, was hired to compile the first parcel-by-parcel reassessment in more than a decade.

"When we first brought them in, our intention was to start reassessing property right away," Clay County Assessor Mark Barnhart said. "However, they helped us complete trending and started reassessing property values in February."

Because of the delay in starting reassessment, the areas which were supposed to be completed in 2007 -- Brazil City, Lewis Township and Brazil Township -- were pushed back, but Barnhart said Tyler Technologies have nearly finished Lewis Township.

"Trending really helped bring the assessed values of Lewis Township down as a whole, which I thought they were a little high to begin with," he said. "Our hope is to finish Brazil City and Brazil Township, along with Cass, Jackson and Van Buren Townships, by the end of the year to catch us back up."

Barnhart also said the time to finish Brazil City and Brazil Township may take a while, but it was important to make them the next priority.

"The majority of the appeals we received last year came from those two areas," he said. "That and the values in Lewis made us want to get things right in those areas first."

One major change in property assessment values for the 2007 pay 2008 tax year affects agricultural land.

"Last year, agricultural landowners had a base rate of $880 per acre, but for taxes owed this year it has gone up to $1,140 an acre," Barnhart said. "We have gotten a lot of calls in the office about it, but it is a state directive recalculated and issued by the Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF) annually."

The DLGF uses a six-year rolling average of the net cash rent income and net operating income, separately, divided by the state-set capitalization rate. The results are then averaged to determine the average market value of an acre of agricultural land. For the upcoming tax year, the years used to create the average spanned from 1999-2004.

The average is updated March 1 of every year and next year's base rate will be $1,200 per acre.

Clay County was able to encumber the cost for reassessment, which had been set at $184,600 for 2007, and add it onto the 2008 cost of $169,800 since the process began later than expected.

"John Meister, an employee of Tyler Technologies, has done a great job helping us work on the first parcel-by-parcel reassessment the county has had in a long time," Barnhart said. "We are a little behind right now, but we are far ahead of where we were last year at this time."

The reassessment, as a whole, is to be completed by 2011, with Perry, Posey and Sugar Ridge Townships set for theirs in 2009, and Harrison, Dick Johnson and Washington Townships to be done in 2010.

For questions about the reassessment or base rate of agricultural land, contact the Clay County Assessor's Office at 812-448-9013.

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