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PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
  • Valuations show positive trend

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  • The word for county valuations is "up" and that means taxing entities in Pratt County have more to work with when making budgets for 2013-2014.
    The vast majority of the increase was in real estate and state assessed utilities, said Pratt County Appraiser D.J. McMurry.
    Agriculture land values went up somewhat, new construction contributed to the increase as did commercial properties and the overall residential value was up about two percent, McMurry said.
    The total valuation for the county is $146.4 million for an increase of $4.8 million over 2013, said Pratt County Clerk Sherry Kruse.
    State assessed utilities account for a large portion of the increase. Those utilities include railroads, telephone companies, pipelines, stored gas, electric companies and telecommunications.
    The valuation numbers are in the hands of the various taxing entities in the county. The educational institutions are all working on budgets for the next fiscal year and evaluating how many mils they will need.
    At Pratt Community College, the current value of one mil is $135,600 and they have 39.7 mils to work with at this time.
    The Board of Trustees will take a look at the budget at their July 15 meeting and will discuss any changes in the number of mils, said Kent Adams, vice president of finance and operations.
    Adams is working on the budget for 2013 and will present it to the Trustees who will determine if any changes in the total mil levy can be made.
    An increase in valuation is an indication of growth in the county and that translates to good news for the college.
    "It's good when you have that growth," Adams said. "It looks positive for the college."
    The value of a mil went up about $1,000 at USD 438 giving them a mil value from $26,000 to $27,000 said Skyline Superintendent Mike Sanders.
    The district has a total of 49.1 mils and with the current valuation it is likely that the number of mils necessary to meet the 2013-2014 budget needs could go down. The usual trend when valuations increase is the number of mils necessary to meet budget goes down.
    However, until the budget is set, any change in the number of mils is uncertain. They could go down or stay the same or even go up a little bit, Sanders said.
    What the district doesn't want to do is increase the burden on the taxpayers. The Skyline board of education will keep that in mind as they consider the budget.
    The 53 mils at USD 382 could also go down but it if does it won't be just because of an increase in county valuation. The value of one mil at USD 328 was $75,000 last year.
    The district refinanced the bond issue on the high school and they had a carryover in supplemental funds so that mixed with the change in valuation could mean a drop in the mil levy.
    Page 2 of 2 - Part of the increase in valuation is coming from properties coming on the tax roles from neighborhood revitalization. Homes have reached the end of the 10-year tax abatement program and are now paying full property tax.
    But Glen Davis, USD 382 business manager, said even though an increase in valuations usually means a decrease in the number of mils, Pratt County is not typical and everyone will have to wait until the budgets are set to determine if a reduction in mils is possible.

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