Sunday, December 17th, 2017

Tax valuations down in Donley County

Property values in Donley County have dropped for most taxing entities, which may cause some concerns for local boards that are busy working on new budgets for fiscal year 2018.

Paula Lowrie, Chief Appraiser of the Donley Appraisal District, said Tuesday that the City of Hedley and the east side of the county were reappraised this year and that area was largely where appraised values fell.

Public notices have begun appearing in the Enterprise this week as local entities begin the process of establishing tax rates for the new year.

The most significant difference this year was the appraised values for the Panhandle Groundwater District, which saw an increase of $147 million for a total appraisal of $372,279,516. The difference is in the wind farm, which received tax agreements from other taxing entities to make payments in lieu of taxes for certain periods of time.

The City of Clarendon saw its values go up slightly this year. The city has total property taxable values of $59,513,477 this year, reflecting a gain of more than $187,050.

Donley County’s values for ad valorem taxes are down more than $2 million at $236,503,813. The county’s total taxable value is higher than other countywide entities because it is able to tax certain rolling railroad stock that other local governments cannot.

The Clarendon College District has countywide taxable values of $221,999,746, an decrease of more than $2.5 million. The college also benefits from maintenance taxes in Childress and Gray counties.

The Donley County Hospital District’s values this year have decreased about $2.1 million for a total tax base of $206,658,376. The hospital district, which provides emergency medical services and indigent care, has lower taxable values than other countywide entities because it does not tax personal property, such as cars, trucks, and boats.

The Clarendon Consolidated Independent School District has taxable values of nearly $135,966,170 on properties within its boundaries in Donley County. That’s up more than $4.2 million from last year’s value. But it’s still significantly below the figure from three years ago, which was $147,805,132. The big loss came when Texas voters in 2015 approved an increase in the homestead exemption from $15,000 to $25,000.

The Hedley school district has seen its tax base in Donley County decrease just over $1 million with total values of $48,714,413.

Taxable values for the City of Howardwick are almost even at $15,005,650; and the City of Hedley has seen its values decrease about $150,000 for a total tax base of $6,686,672.

Once an entity has its taxable value, it can generally figure its tax levy by dividing the number by $100 and multiplying the result by a tax rate ($1.17 in the case of Clarendon ISD, for example).

However, those numbers get complicated for Clarendon and Hedley schools, the cities of Clarendon and Hedley, Donley County, and the Clarendon College District where people over the age of 65 and those who are disabled have their taxes frozen at differing levels, requiring additional calculations.

Lowrie said Howardwick and the western third of the county will be reappraised in 2018 followed by the City of Clarendon in 2019.

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