Taxes on county farmland may rise

Published 10:57 am Thursday, September 5, 2013

Residential and commercial taxes may see 18 percent decrease for ’14

Freeborn County residential and commercial business owners may see a decrease in their county property taxes in 2014 under the preliminary levy approved Tuesday. Owners of farmland, however, may see an increase.

The Freeborn County Board of Commissioners approved a $19.46 million preliminary county tax levy, which includes a zero percent levy increase when compared to 2013. While the levy can be lowered between now and December, it cannot be raised.

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Freeborn County Assessor Ryan Rasmusson said though there was not a levy increase proposed, ag properties could still see an increase in taxes because of the rising values of tillable land.

This year, an average acre of tillable farmland is valued at $7,280, up from $5,200 last year.

Because the values for tillable land are higher, this land takes on a larger portion of the tax burden, Rasmusson said.

Property owners in 2014 pay taxes based off of what their property was assessed at in 2013.

Rasmusson said this is the second year in a row there is a significant shift in county taxes.

According to estimates, the county portion of property taxes would decrease about 18 1/2 percent for a $100,000 residential and $200,000 commercial property. It would increase about 14 percent for tillable land.

Taxes for a $100,000 home would decrease by about $80 under the preliminary levy, while taxes for a $200,000 business would decrease by about $367, he said.

A property classified as a homestead tillable property would increase roughly $2.23 per acre, while a nonhomestead tillable property would increase about $4.45 per acre.

Under the preliminary budget approved Tuesday, county budget expenditures for 2014 are about $41.35 million while revenues are about $41.23 million.

Freeborn County Administrator John Kluever said the difference of a little more than $100,000 would come from reserves.

The budget includes about $175,000 for tuckpointing of the historic portion of the Freeborn County Courthouse, along with the installation of computers in 15 squad cars of the Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office for about $100,000, among other projects.

About $260,000 is estimated to go to the Highway Department through the recently approved wheelage tax, and about $176,000 will come from county program aid from the state.

Expenditures are budgeted to be down about $50,000 when compared to this year.

Commissioners had to approve the preliminary levy and budget by Sept. 15. They will vote on the final levy and budget in December.