by KATE SHUNNEY
The Morgan County Assessor has released an annual Certificate of Valuation for county property that shows a half-percent drop in value for the 2018 assessment year. The Morgan County Commission uses the annual assessor’s valuation figures to prepare their fiscal year budget. County officials have met multiple times in the last two weeks to prepare the county’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget.
According to Assessor Ronnie McIntire’s valuation figures, Morgan County’s taxable real estate and personal property saw an overall .55 percent decline in value since 2017.
The value of all assessed county property dropped from $1,030,654,394 to $1,024,926,285, a loss of $5.7 million in value since 2017.
The value of Class II property, which includes owner-occupied real estate and farms, dropped from $676,149,452 in the 2017 assessment year to $672,664,806 in 2018. The loss of $3,484,646 in value equals a .51 percent drop.
Class III property values dropped by a higher percentage. Those properties, which include real estate and personal property in the county that doesn’t fall into Class II, saw a $4,615,272 drop in value. The value of Class III property fell from $311,385,515 in 2017 to $306,770,243 in 2018. That’s a 1.48 percent decline.
Class IV properties, which are real estate and personal property inside the municipalities of Paw Paw and Bath, saw the only increase in value over last year. The assessed value of that category of taxable property rose from $43,119,427 in 2017 to $45,491,236 in 2018. The $2,371,809 jumps amounts to a 5.5 percent increase in value. The majority of those gains came from a $3.49 million increase in the value of Class IV real estate.
The loss of assessed value on taxable real estate and property will mean a decline in county revenue from property tax, since the county’s tax rate is at the maximum allowable rate under state law.
Assessments of county property are done on a rotating basis, with county officials re-assessing whole tax districts every few years. Valuations can rise and fall based on real estate sales figures for a particular area, property improvements or changes.