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Archive for Thursday, July 18, 1991

REVISED VALUATION ESTIMATES OFFER A BREAK FOR TAXPAYERS

July 18, 1991

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A Lawrence resident making property tax payments on an $80,000 home can afford to see two more movies next year than he or she might have expected and take a date.

The county's new property valuation estimates, announced Wednesday, translate into a $22 savings for the owner of an $80,000 home who will pay 1992 property taxes to the city, county and school district when compared to earlier tax projections.

The same homeowner will pay $1,306 in property taxes, $109 more than he or she did last year. That's a smaller increase than the $131 increase projected earlier.

The county on Wednesday revised its property valuation figure to $362,140,744, an increase of about $7.6 million from earlier projections.

This valuation increase, combined with greater than expected ambulance revenues and a proposed increase in ambulance rates, decreased the county's proposed levy 1.116 mills to 27.959 mills.

A MILL IS $1 in tax for every $1,000 in assessed value. Homes are assessed at 12 percent of their appraised value, so the assessed value of an $80,000 home is $9,600.

The county's assessed valuation, along with those of the Lawrence school board and the city, may be even higher when the final figures are compiled in September, said County Administrator Chris McKenzie. That means the three mill levies may be even lower than now estimated.

The Lawrence school district's revised assessed valuation is $316,066,128, an increase of about $7.6 million from earlier projections.

The Lawrence school board on Tuesday approved for publication a 1991-92 budget of $40.04 million. Unless the board meets again and approves an increase in the budget's dollar amount, an increase in the district's valuation will mean a drop in the district's mill levy.

Board member Harriet Shaffer said she doubts the board would use the increased valuation to produce increased revenues.

"I'd personally be surprised if we did," she said, adding that the school board worked hard to bring the mill levy down through budget cuts.

THE NEW valuation figure should mean about a 1-mill drop from the district's earlier projected mill levy, said Craig Fiegel, the district's director for business and facilities. That would bring the school mill levy down from 79.37 mills to 78.37 mills.

The city's revised assessed valuation is $262,929,393, an increase of about $5.4 million from earlier projections.

A minute decrease in the city mill levy, from 28.36 to 28.32, is in order if the Lawrence City Commission accepts City Manager Mike Wildgen's answer to the new valuation figure. He wants to increase the city's projected property tax delinquency rate from 3 percent to 5 percent.

The city has successfully estimated a 3-percent delinquency rate for years, Wildgen said, but a 5-percent estimate will protect against more frequent tax appeals.

"Three percent is what we generally have used in the past," he said. "We're looking at years that aren't like they were in the past."

The county and the Lawrence school district already estimated a 5-percent delinquency rate.

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