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June 14, 2011 7:37 am

Preliminary valuation up

Written by CJ Baker

Led almost entirely by increases in the price of oil and gas, Park County’s assessed valuation is projected to be the second-highest ever.

An estimate tabulated earlier this month by Park County Assessor Pat Meyer says the county’s value rose by about 11 percent, to more than $823 million. The value is based on mineral production and other property values from 2010.

The value of local homes, businesses, land and other personal property in Park County was essentially flat between 2009 and 2010, the preliminary numbers say, rising not quite 1.5 percent.

In the city of Powell, the assessed valuation actually dipped by about $15,000, though that’s a mere blip on a nearly $37.5 million total value. Cody’s value rose by about 2 percent in the preliminary numbers, to $110 million.

In addition to being a rough reflection of property values, the assessed valuation sets the taxable base for property taxes collected by school districts, the county, Northwest College, the municipalities, fire districts, hospitals, recreation districts, cemeteries, the weed and pest district and others. Exactly which mix of entities you pay depends on which districts your property is in.

If the local governments in Park County keep their property tax rates the same as last year, they’ll collect about $58.4 million this year — about $5.8 million more than last year.

The $15.5 billion value of the minerals produced in 2010 also represented the second-best year for the state as a whole.

“This is another sign that in Wyoming we are headed in the right direction,” said Governor Matt Mead in a May 30 statement. “It is also a reminder of how big a role mineral production plays in providing us with revenue to keep taxes low and build our schools.”

The state’s mineral valuation spelled a 23 percent increase from the prior year, based on 2009 production. The value of bentonite production in the state rose 89 percent, uranium 44 percent, oil 34 percent, natural gas 30 percent, trona 7 percent and coal 6 percent. Sand and gravel value fell 13 percent.

Mead called the tax dollars from the jump in mineral value “a shot in the arm for our counties that are still coming out of the recession.”

Mead said he’ll continue to push to share more of the revenue with local governments and for more “consistent and predictable regulations from the federal government” for the mineral industries.

In Park County, this year’s assessed value is surpassed only by the county’s $1.033 billion valuation in 2009, which Meyer called “the freak year.” Last year’s valuation was $741 million.

This year’s bump was generally driven by a rise in the value of minerals, not new production, said Meyer.

He said the county’s valuation is essentially tied to the prices you see at the gas pump.

Judging by current prices, “We’ll be pretty good for a while,” said Meyer.

1 Comment

  • Comment Link June 14, 2011 8:12 am posted by Salty Dawg

    Perhaps someone should let the local greeny transplants know about this valuation so they can further "enjoy" the lower property taxes as they ***** and moan about oil & gas development in the Big Horn Basin.There are a few up Line Creek who are good at ******* and moaning about this development,yet take advantage of the lower taxes.Same goes for all the rich retirees who move to Wyoming for cheaper taxes.

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