Archive for Thursday, February 24, 2005

De Soto sees spike in home valuations

February 24, 2005

The average appraised valuation of single family homes in De Soto increased 11.1 percent in the last year, according to Johnson County Appraiser Paul Welcome's annual report.

Offsetting the groans that news is likely to elicit local homeowners was then near doubling in the assessed value of the city's commercial property, attributed to the sunset of 10-year-old tax abatement to a local industry.

Welcome will share his annual report Thursday with the Johnson County Commission. His office will follow up that report with the mailing Monday of 194,000 change of valuation notices to county property owners.

The 11.1 increase was significantly higher than the 6.9 percent increase for De Soto found in Welcome's 2004 report. It was the first double-digit increase in the average appraised value of single family homes since a 10.5 percent increase in 2002.

More than 87 percent of the city's 1,456 homeowners will find the valuation on their homes has increased in the last year. The vast majority of those, 78.6 percent, will learn their homes increased in valuation from 1 to 10 percent.

It was also in keeping with that reported in the county's other smaller communities of Gardner (11.3), Edgerton (12.4) and Spring Hill (11.1). In the county overall, homes built before 2003 increased in valuation by a mean of 3.88 percent.

Welcome said in general that the northwestern part of the county, of which De Soto was a part, averaged higher residential valuation increases.

De Soto's double-digit average appraised-value increase appeared at odds with the .4 percent decrease in home sales prices from $190,311 to $189,611, which was listed in the report. However, the sales lists omitted sales of homes constructed in the two prior years.

The change of valuation notice property owners will receive next week will include both the appraised and assessed valuation of their property. For single-family homes, assessed valuation is 11.5 percent of the appraised value.

An increase in assessed valuation could very well mean a property owner will pay more property taxes, but that won't be determined until the budgets and mill levies for the county, city of De Soto, USD 232 and other taxing jurisdictions are approved this summer.

The city of De Soto's mill levy will have some upward pressure as it meets the first debt obligation for the new swimming pool. Helping to offset that is the end to the first abatement on what is now Huhtamaki Americas Inc.

Welcome's report indicated the city's total assessed value on the commercial property increased from $4.9 million last year to $9.7 million this year because of the sunset of that abatement.

Although that appeared to be good news, as was the city's overall 22 percent increase in assessed value to $43.2 million, City Administrator Greg Johnson cautioned that the figures were preliminary and before reductions from the appeal process.

If the assessment numbers stood up and the city's sales tax collections continued their recent healthy trend, the De Soto City Council would be in the enviable position of adding selective service while providing property tax relief, Johnson said.

Most of the increase in commercial assessment was in the city's fire service area, meaning that increased revenue source would be available to the De Soto Fire Department.

"That's a very positive sign, because the last two years city fire's assessed valuation has declined," Johnson said.

The mailing of valuation notices starts the clock on the appeal process. Property owners have until March 31 to file an appeal.

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