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County increases taxable home values

Article Date: 
28 August, 2014 - 16:00

Every homeowner in the county saw a home valuation increase on their tax notices sent out this month.
County Assessor Gwen D. Rich reported a significant increase in the county’s taxable value to the state this year.  From $856 million in taxable value in 2013 to $907 million this year, taxable value increased a whopping $51 million.  
Of that increase, about $19.2 million was due to new growth, or homes constructed and new businesses locating in Morgan, Rich said.  This year’s $19.2 million increase in new growth outshines last year’s $6.3 million increase.
The assessor typically re-assesses about a fifth of the county each year.  This year, it was the new subdivisions in the Morgan City area.  
But no one was immune to increasing taxable values.  After looking at the market, detailed reviews and cost tables, the assessor increased home taxable values an average 10 percent across the entire county.
The across-the-board adjustment is not unusual, Rich said.  In fact, in recent years during a waning economy, there have been across-the-board reductions of 10 percent and even more.
“We do it every year,” Rich said.  “We look at the sales that occur.  What people are paying for homes is increasing.”
And that may be a good economic indicator, Rich said.
“The market is coming back.  It hit the bottom and things are on the way back up,” Rich said.  “We see that with things that have sold.  People are building and homes are selling for a little bit more than they have in the past.”
While an improved real estate market on its face may be a good thing, it translates into home owners having to pay more taxes.  Many have noticed this as tax notices were mailed out this month and the Morgan County School Board considered adjusting their tax rates (see related story).
“My taxes would have gone down if the county didn’t assess my house at $50,000 more than it was last year,” said Mountain Green resident Bret Smith.
“No one wants their taxes to go up,” said Morgan County School Board President Bruce Galbraith.  “I don’t like the increase of 10 percent on my house.”
Morgan County School Board Member Mark Farmer said his house increased in value by 25 percent.
Galbraith said values in nearby Weber County raised 1.3 percent.  School Board Member Ken Durrant said Cache county increased taxes.  
Unopposed Morgan County Council candidate John Barber, who owns property in Morgan, Wasatch and Utah counties, said only his Morgan taxes increased.