Property assessments rise 7.8 percent<BR>

A good economy, construction activity and population growth fueled a 7.8 percent increase in net assessed property values in Mohave County in 2000, Chief Deputy Assessor Ron Nicholson said.

Net valuations exceeded $1 billion in 2000, up from $960 million in 1999, he said.

They have increased an average of 3.6 percent over the past several years.

"It's because of a good economy, a substantial increase in new construction and population growth," Nicholson said.

The increase in values may provide some relief for the financially troubled county government, but will not solve the financial problems, according to Nicholson.

"We are not the cause of the problems for the county's financial woes," Nicholson said.

"Our assessed values have increased every year, resulting in increased revenues."

To increase revenues, the county supervisors need to consider raising property and sales taxes or imposing impact fees, Nicholson said.

The other option is to cut services.

"The county has been cut to the bone," he said.

"This new board of Supervisors is coming into a very difficult situation.

They are faced with unpleasant alternatives."

The previous board considered raising both property and sales taxes before voting on Aug.

7, 2000, to adopt a $148 million budget for the 2000-01 fiscal year, which concludes June 30.

The sales tax rate is 7.25 percent in the cities and 2 percent lower in the unincorporated areas, and the primary property tax rate is $1.75 for $100 in assessed valuation.

Tax rates in Arizona range from 33.1 cents for $100 in assessed valuation in Apache County to $4.5974 for $100 in assessed valuation in Pinal County, according to a chart provided by the County Supervisors Association of Arizona.

The county budgeted $16.2 million in property tax revenues for the 2000-2001 fiscal year, according to a report from the finance department.

The revenues account for 38.5 percent of the total General Fund revenues of $44.8 million projected for the fiscal year.

Property tax collections reached about $100 million to $105 million last year in the county, said Dave Chevalier, chief deputy treasurer.

Of the total, about $19 million goes to the county, including flood control, the library and other special districts.

The Treasurer's Office collects property taxes for every taxing authority in the county, he said.

The county collects property taxes from about 240,000 land parcels and 10,000 parcels of personal property such as mobile homes and buildings on leased land if the buildings and business equipment are worth more than $51,000, Nicholson said.