Lower Rate Vs. Higher Value Means More Property Taxes

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The nationwide housing boom is going to make many Gila County homeowners dig a little deeper into their bank accounts to pay taxes.

"Overall, Gila County taxes are down 17 cents, or 1.3 percent," said Assistant County Manager John Nelson. "Assessed valuation has increased though -- by 2.78 percent on average -- so most homeowners will be paying more."

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"Overall, Gila County taxes are down 17 cents, or 1.3 percent," said Assistant County Manager John Nelson.

He said the average tax rate -- taking all jurisdictions into consideration -- is going to be $12.93 per $100 of assessed valuation for 2005-2006, down from $13.10 for 2004-2005.

Nelson did a comparison of the tax jurisdictions by school districts. He based his numbers on a home with an assessed valuation of $100,000. His results show that every community in the Rim Country will see an increase in taxes, ranging from $15.74 in a portion of Pine and Strawberry to $90.98 in East Verde Park. The tax bills range from $770.03 in the same Pine-Strawberry area with the lowest increase, to $1,275.39 in the part of Tonto Basin that is within the Payson school district.

In the southern part of the county, however, every community, except a portion of one, will see a decrease. Tax tabs will run between $897.27 and $2,226.67.

Three different tax jurisdictions covering the Hayden/Winkelman area have the county's highest tax bill -- $2,226.67, even though the rates are dropping by $367.49.

"About 10 (years ago), they passed a bond to build a new school," Nelson said. "At the time the mine had a high assessed value, so it did not make that big (of) an impact on the tax rate, but since then, the mine has been devalued and the burden for that bonded indebtedness has had to shift to the homeowners."

Thirteen different tax jurisdictions are in the Payson school district, and residents in each of those areas will pay a different amount. The average tax bill is $1,151.61, with an average increase of $51.70.

The Pine-Strawberry school district encompasses 10 different areas. The average tax on a home assessed at $100,000 will be $1,005.08. In five areas, however, the amount is $1,041.30. The average increase is $29.79.

The needs of different fire districts, sanitary districts, water districts, street light districts and whether a home is in an incorporated community determine the tax rates, hence the variability.

"In towns and cities, most of the revenue to operate a fire district is from sales tax. In unincorporated areas -- further away from commercial areas -- the fire departments are supported by property taxes," Nelson said.

The Gila County Board of Supervisors certified the tax rates requested by the different jurisdictions at a special meeting Aug. 15.

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