WALKER -- Cass County Assessor Steve Kuha told the county board Tuesday that because state legislation prevents collection of taxes on property values above limited market value, property taxes are not being collected today on 20 percent of Cass County land values.
The Legislature several years ago passed legislation stating local governments could not collect taxes on more than a 10 percent annual increase in value.
Because values on many Cass properties have increased significantly more than 10 percent a year, Kuha said, the last two years there has been a 20 percent differential between actual property values and the limited market value on which taxes actually can be collected.
Current state legislation calls for phasing out the limited market value over the next few years. Kuha said he expects to see the limited market value decline and property taxpayers experience increases in the amount they pay because of this.
In the 2003 assessment, Cass County has an estimated market value of $3,973,300,000, with $3,198,800,000 of that taxable.
Appraisal records this year also reflect recent indicators that new construction is leveling off here. New home starts increased from 270 in the 1999 assessment to 347 in 2000, 387 in 2001 and 439 in 2002, but remained level in 2003 at 440, Kuha reported.
Chief Deputy Auditor Larry Wolfe said new construction within the last year will offset about a 3 percent increase in taxes levied before increases will be seen for existing property owners.
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