Archive for Monday, January 22, 2007

Officials: Slow property value growth will force wait on new projects

Valuation growing at half its usual rate

January 22, 2007


Government leaders sounded cautionary notes this morning after receiving estimates from Douglas County Appraiser Marion Johnson that property tax values likely will grow much slower than normal in 2007.

"I think we're going to have to wait on a lot of things," Lawrence Public Schools Supt. Randy Weseman said at a joint study session of city and county commissioners and school board members. "I think we're going to have to make do with what we have."

Johnson provided estimates that showed the overall assessed value - the amount of taxable property in the county - likely will grow by 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent this year. That's down significantly from past years when valuation increases have been between 5.5 percent to 9 percent. The values are important to local governments because they show how much new money they can generate from property taxes without raising the mill levy.

"I think the growth in the property tax is going to cover inflation and little else," County Administrator Craig Weinaug told elected leaders.

Members of the three governing bodies also used the meeting to go over lists of possible major projects that the they may seek to undertake in the next couple of years.

For more on the story, see 6News at 6 p.m. tonight and tomorrow's Journal-World.


cowboy 11 years, 4 months ago

sales tax revenues down 2% compared to last year in December , If you arent growing your shrinking , there is no status quo.

Brought to you by the worthless City Commission and the even more worthless chamber of commerce

oldgoof 11 years, 4 months ago

Now maybe Lawrence officials will start to appreciate the situation of local officials in the rest of the state. Even at 2.5 to 3.5 they will be ahead of a lot of other places.

cowboy 11 years, 4 months ago

Maybe they could get a consultant to figure out that the help wanted ads which used to number around 290 per day online have been in the 140 range for the past couple months. Skilled Trades about 3 per day compared to over 30 last year. You've done a wonderful job with the local economy commissioners.

Sigmund 11 years, 4 months ago

What? All the consultants left town with the money for their studies with preordained conclusions? Time for a new vision summit!

budwhysir 11 years, 4 months ago


I thought we had an abundance of houses that arent going to be able to be sold. Who would want higher tax values if people arent buying houses?????????????

yankeelady 11 years, 4 months ago

So if appraisals are down, will our taxes go down?? Wow wouldn't that be nice? So would a 70 degree day about now.

Sigmund 11 years, 4 months ago


I believe the answer is yes, if value declines so does your real estate tax bill (assuming the tax rate is not increased). I believe that is State Law now. Probably some religious right conservative fanatic's idea.

captain_poindexter 11 years, 4 months ago

what the hell does that have to do with it?

property tax valuation increases is just a phoney way for local governments to further tax old and poor folks that own their homes. rich folks can afford the valuation increase - this kind of thing hurts the old and poor - not to mention the middle class that has to struggle with their increased monthly motgage - last year about $75 for a household worth $150K.

Sean Livingstone 11 years, 4 months ago

Property prices.... not the fault of city and planners... but really, the fault of home buyers, like you and me.

Sigmund 11 years, 4 months ago

City planners can have a significant impact (both increasing values and decreasing values) on property, but at the end of the day buyers and sellers set market values for property. Cities have an interest in overvaluing property as real estate taxes are tied to those inflated market values. Anything the City can do to raise property prices it will, even if it makes housing unaffordable for a large number of its citizens and puts a financial hardship on the current owners of property on a fixed income.

Smart growth, no growth, planned growth policies restrict new housing and cause a increase in value in existing homes and a increase amount of real estate taxes as long as the population continues to be stable or increases. But this strategy last just so long, until home owners try to sell and find few or no buyers at the inflated prices. Those that do sell, sometimes at a loss, look to buy in other communities that are not as overvalued which further reduces the number of buyers and aggravates a softening market.

Declining property values reduces property tax income to the City. The City has two choices. Try and raise real estate tax rates to make up for the decline in value, or keep the rate the same and live with a shrinking budget.

Raising real estate tax rates raises the Total Cost of Ownership of real property. People look at the cost of principle, interest, insurance and taxes in calculating how much they can afford to pay. Increase the taxes and the market value falls again reducing the amount of real estate taxes. You can't tax your way out of this problem no matter how hard you try.

Much less popular among City leaders is reducing the size and cost of Government, but it is the proper response to an overvalued market that is correcting (ie, declining). Overtime and given a growing population (smart, planned, or whatever) and demand will eventually catch values.

budwhysir 11 years, 4 months ago

I say, let em wait. We will get by some how

cowboy 11 years, 4 months ago

reality check , mr head in the sand , overall measure points of the local economy are all negative right now , care to wonder why ? business environment , jobs , sales tax revenue , property valuations , can you spell SHRINKING

budwhysir 11 years, 4 months ago

The way I read it, might be an over budget thing, or possibly another problem

Jackson 11 years, 4 months ago

The city will have a windfall tax base if they ever get smart enough to tax landlords of student rental houses in SF zoned neighborhoods as a BUSINESS.

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