Friday, October 31, 2014
   
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Valuation climbs in county, locally during 2014

Ag land prices drive increase

Dawson County is growing.

So are Gothenburg and other cities and villages in the county.

Valuations for 2014, recently released by the Dawson County assessor’s office, show an 18.2% increase countywide compared to a 14.7% climb in 2013.

Local valuation is the assessed value of land and improvements.

County valuation in 2014 is $2,799,161,743 compared to $2,367,063,392 the previous year.

Of the seven cities and villages in Dawson County, Lexington showed the biggest valuation increase at 3.2% followed by Cozad at 2.9%. Gothenburg was close behind at 2.7%.

Valuation amounts put Lexington first at $289,397,314. Gothenburg is second at $193,581,278 followed by Cozad with $171,371,788.

Dawson County assessor John Moore said the high price of agricultural land is still driving most valuation increases across the county.

“We are on a three-year cycle with agricultural markets and the high prices are starting to catch up in terms of valuation,” Moore said.

He pointed to a 40% increase in the highest-ranked irrigated ground in Dawson County this year that drove other values up as well.

Still, Moore said the number of ag market sales is slowing.

Although Moore noted that cities don’t receive valuation from rural areas, he said most of them show a relatively stable trend.

“There may be some economic growth but much of that is influenced by the use of tax-increment financing which does not grow base values,” he said.

TIF allows the tax revenue generated by property improvements to help pay for its development.

Tax bases grow eventually but growth is delayed, usually about 15 years, because the land on which property improvements occur is taxed at the level before improvements.

A recent example is Frito-Lay that started paying taxes on improvements two years ago.

Moore said increased valuation can reflect the health of a city’s or county’s economy.

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