The Niobrara County Assessor’s office will be mailing the 2017 property assessment schedules on April 7th. According to Niobrara County Assessor, Teri Stephens, properties are assessed to the owner of record and valued as they existed as of January 1st of each year. The notice will indicate to the property owner the value determined by the Assessor’s office and this year’s estimated property tax. The level of assessment is set by statute and the mill levy is based on budget requests from various taxing entities (school districts, fire district, etc.). Mill levies for 2017 will not be set until August. Statute requires that the Assessor use the prior year mill levies to calculate an estimated tax for comparison. Tax notices for this year reflecting the actual amount of taxes will be mailed in September from the Niobrara County Treasurer. Those notices also reflect the breakout of how tax dollars are distributed.
State law mandates that property assessments be based on fair market value. Fair market value is determined by sales of properties similar in characteristics such as age, square footage, location, style, and lot/land size.
Agricultural land is valued on the land’s current use and the capability of the land to produce agricultural products under normal conditions. A range of values is determined by the Department of Revenue and each Assessor is required to select a value within those ranges for each productivity category present in his or her county. There are four steps that the DOR uses to determine the value ranges of agricultural land:
* Determine Prices of Agricultural Products. This information is derived from the Wyoming Agricultural Statistics Service’s commodity price data. This information, which consists of all hay, all wheat and grazing prices, is converted to a five (5) year weighted average.
* Capitalization Rate Selection. This rate is based on the Farm Credit Services of Omaha Long Term Portfolio rates, which are also converted to a five (5) year weighted average.
* Determine Net Income. To determine the net income, the unit price of each of the 3 commodities is multiplied times the production per acre. Next, the landlord share is determined, if applicable, then the expenses and production losses are deducted to establish a net income to the landlord.
* Capitalize Net Income. The final step in the process is capitalizing the net income.
Property owners should review the amount noted as “Total Valuation Used to Calculate Tax”, and determine if it is the approximate value of their property if sold January 1, 2017. If they agree with the value, owners are not required to respond.”
Property owners have the right to appeal the market value stated on their assessment schedule; however, this must be done within 30 days of the postmark on the assessment schedule. For 2017, the deadline is May 8th. Upon request, staff will review the characteristic information for the property with the owner to ensure the information is accurate. During this review, the property owner should provide any information they would like to have considered as an appraisal, market analysis, special conditions or influences they feel may affect the property value.
Ms. Stephens reminds Wyoming Veterans the deadline for applying for their property exemption is the 4th Monday in May, which is May 22nd. If discharge papers and information necessary to qualify for the exemption have previously been provided, notification may be done by calling the office.
For more information, contact the Assessor’s office located on the first floor of the Niobrara County Courthouse, 424 South Elm, or call 334-3201. Additional information about the assessment process can be obtained at www.niobraracounty.org. (Under County Assessor)