Taxes Rise, Home Values Fall

But county rate holds steady despite drop in assessed value

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Residents of Gila County won’t see an increase in taxes from the county, but will see sometimes substantial increases from other taxing districts on their property tax bill this year, including the 50 percent jump for the Payson Unified School District.

The Gila County Board of Supervisors set the property tax rates for Gila County property owners at its Aug. 15 meeting. The Gila County General Purpose tax rate of 4.19 remained unchanged since last year, which should mean a decrease for the average homeowner since assessed values dropped about 11 percent in the Payson area.

“I went through the budgets and determined the tax rates. There were some issues that needed to be addressed,” said Joseph Heatherly, county finance director.

“The Payson school district is picking up almost $2.7 million more for maintenance and special education. The folks that live in the footprint of the school district will be upset with us, but thank goodness we lowered the tax rate,” said Supervisor Tommie Martin.

School district officials said a decline in state support, the Legislature’s adjustment to compensate for a 20 percent decline in property values statewide and bad estimates on revenues and expenses resulted in the big jump in the district’s rate.

The board of supervisors only determine the general fund rate. All other rates come from the budgets of the various districts, such as schools, water, fire and sanitary said John Nelson deputy county manager.

Nelson broke down the numbers to illustrate a typical Payson resident’s property tax. He took the average home price in the town, which according to the U.S. Census is $136,500.

The assessment ratio would be 10 percent of that value, or $13,650. The tax rate only applies to $100 of the assessed value or $136.50.

In the case of the Gila County tax rate, that comes to about $571.94 on a tax bill.

The primary and secondary school tax for a Payson resident living in that average home would come to about $707.86.

Where the money goes

The supervisors included a pie chart to explain the breakdown of what Gila County residents’ property taxes cover:

• 51 percent of property taxes go to schools and libraries.

• 34 percent funds the county General Purpose fund.

• 12 percent pays for special districts such as fire and water.

• 3 percent goes to cities and towns.

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