Tax rates for Clay County are in and, just like many other things, have gone up.
Assessed property values are also up in the county, totaling $916,221,010.
"The overall value is up about $7-$8 million from last year," Clay County Auditor Mary Jo Alumbaugh said. "I imagine that most of the increase has come from the jump in agricultural land prices from $880 to $1,100 per acre."
The county still needs to prepare the abstract taxes for the county. This is in anticipation of what the county believes it will collect in property taxes. It will then be sent to the state auditor for approval, which needs to take place before property tax bills are mailed to residents.
"We are still waiting for the state auditor to send us the information for us to enter," Alumbaugh said. "It is taking a little longer this year because with counties starting to use Local Option Income Taxes, there are more lines of information to input. So far, 17 counties is the state have imposed Local Option Income Taxes."
Once the abstract is approved, which is usually the day after it is submitted, the county will advertise the tax rates three times while preparing bills to go out.
"The first due date will be included when we advertise the rates and bills will be printed up during that time," Alumbaugh said. "So in essence, residents may receive their property tax bills before all of the advertisements have been completed."
Tax rates are up in all districts with Brazil City-Brazil Township having the highest at 3.1198 dollars per $100 of assessed value, and Washington Township has the lowest in the county with a gross tax rate of 2.0477.
However, the gross tax rate does not necessarily reflect the rate that residents will be taxed.
"To achieve the net tax rate on which residents' bills will be based on, you have to subtract out the Property Tax Replacement Credit and the Homestead Credit, if they have been approved for it," Alumbaugh said. "Also, for residential properties only, the General School rate, which is 0.6056 in most districts, also has to be subtracted out."
Lewis Township, which is the lone taxing district in Clay County that pays school taxes for the M.S.D. Shakamak School District, has a General School tax rate of 0.6991.
For example, a resident living in Sugar Ridge Township has a gross tax rate of 2.0629 this year. However, once you take out their PTRC (0.262969), Homestead credit (0.276926) and General School rate, their net tax rate is 0.917405, which is below the maximum collection percentage when the circuit breaker truly hits Clay County in 2010.
"The effect of the circuit breaker will be minimal on Clay County this year and next year," Alumbaugh said. "However, PTRC will be eliminated in 2010 and with the circuit breaker at 1 percent on residential property that year, the county will probably lose out on about $500,000 in property tax collection."
The circuit breaker, which sets a maximum percentage of a property's value that can be collected in taxes, is at 2 percent this year. This means that if a property has an assessed value of $100,000, the most that can be collected in property taxes is $2,000.
For questions about tax bills, rates or credits, contact the Clay County Auditor's Office at 812-448-9001.