Property valuations rise $59 million in 2001

Net assessed property valuation in Mohave County for 2001 increased $59 million over the previous year, apparently triggered by population growth and new construction, Chief Deputy Assessor Ron Nicholson.

The value exceeded $1 billion, an increase of 5 to 6 percent, Nicholson said.

The net assessed value is the value after exemptions and assessment ratios have been applied.

The value increased 7.8 percent in 2000 and 3.6 percent during several of the previous years, according to Nicholson.

Nicholson said he expects little relief for the county's continuing fiscal crisis in the general fund, which accounts for more than one-third of the overall budget of about $150 million for the fiscal year that ends June 30.

On March 28, County Manager Ron implemented cost-cutting measures which included a hiring freeze on jobs paid for through the general fund and reducing overtime.

"I think what is important is property tax contributed 36 percent of the general fund (revenues)," Nicholson said.

"You can't expect this small 36 percent to make up for the needs of the 100 percent."

Nicholson said eight of Arizona's 15 counties have higher primary property tax rates than Mohave County, where the rate is $1.75 per $100 in assessed valuation.

Expressing concerns that higher property taxes would burden property owners, the supervisors did not raise the primary rate by 21.94 cents, as Walker had recommended, when they adopted the 2001-2002 budget in August 2001.

The county collects about 15 percent of the total property tax bill for a single-family home and disburses the remainder to special districts, such as fire districts, and other taxing agencies, Nicholson said.

Schools account for about 60 percent of the total.

The county collects property taxes on an estimated 250,000 parcels, Assessor Bev Payne said.

Personal property accounts for about 8 percent of the total, Nicholson said.

Personal property includes mobile homes and contents in businesses such as machinery.

The assessor's office is simplifying taxes by combining the real and personal property, Payne said.

"(Property owners) get one value notice that has everything on it," she said.

Doing so saves postage, Nicholson said.

State law also exempts the first $53,000 in value for commercial personal property such as desks and computers in offices and cash registers and coolers in stores, according to the assessor's office.