Archive for Thursday, April 3, 2008

De Soto valuation up despite housing slump

April 3, 2008

De Soto City Administrator Pat Guilfoyle was prepared for bad news when he met Monday with Johnson County Appraiser Paul Welcome.

The meeting was scheduled so that Welcome could share with Guilfoyle the annual reappraisal report, which was completed a month late this year as the county appraiser's office dealt with a new software program.

The housing slump feed by the sub-prime crisis had Guilfoyle expecting the worst.

"I went into the meeting expecting the total assessed value to go down this year," he said.

Instead, Guilfoyle learned the city's assessed valuation from real estate increased from $48.6 million a year ago to $50.6 million this year or a 4.1 percent increase.

The figures, which won't be final until all appeals are determined in early July, indicate the communities and neighborhoods that make up De Soto USD 232 also increased in valuation.

However, the report wasn't devoid of the bleak figures Guilfoyle expected. In what may signal a tight budget year in Olathe, Johnson County's assessment gains were minimal, especially compared to those seen in the booming housing market earlier this decade.

Johnson County's assessed valuation increased from $7.44 billion to $7.7 billion or $263.5 million. The 3.54 increase was the smallest of this decade and the actual increase was $1 million less than that recorded during the economic slowdown in 2002 that followed 9/11.

Assessed valuation attributed to new construction grew at only 2.03 percent. That again is the smallest increase of the decade and only the percentage increase of 2002.

That is significant because new construction growth can be used to enhance the budgets without an increase in the mill levies or the use of the hidden tax increase of assessment increases on existing property from revaluation.

The average value of a single family home is De Soto increased .72 or 1 percent last year to $201,579, although the average home sale in the city increased to $250,000 from $212,000 the year before.

In that figure, De Soto was is the middle of the pack with Gardner seeing the biggest percentage decline at -0.46 or 1 percent and Prairie Village the biggest increase at 3.23 percent.

Guilfoyle said he was informed the personal property report due in May would show a decline in assessed value of from 10 to 15 percent. The decline is attributed to the Kansas Legislature's decision to remove business equipment from the tax rolls with the goal of encouraging investment, Guilfoyle said.

The appraiser's office is required to send out notices of valuation March 1 to all business and homeowners. Because of the introduction of the new software package, Welcome received an extension to that deadline from the state and has been mailing notices since March 1 with the goal of completing the task Monday.

Because of the extension, property owners will have a month from the date their valuation notices were mailed to file for appeals.

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