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If you own property in Gem County, you should have received a notice regarding your assessed value. Your taxes will be determined, based on the assessed value. Watch for that bill in November.

Yes, it’s sticker shock when you see the assessed value of your property jump so high — like maybe 29 percent. Property values throughout Idaho are increasing, but it’s a big surprise to see your property’s value go up nearly a third or more.

Often, the first target for criticism is the local school district. I think it has to do more with the fact that not everyone has children in school. But if you live in the city limits, you receive city water and sewer along with other services, so the taxes may be a bit more palatable.

Before the Idaho Legislature shifted school funding off the property owners’ backs, a much larger portion of your taxes supported schools. Now, only a small portion of your property tax bill actually goes to the Emmett School District. For this year, 10 percent of your property tax bill goes to schools if you live in the city limits or 19 percent if you live in the county.

School districts must ask voters to approve supplemental levies, plant facility levies and bond measures. In September, school districts can levy for unplanned enrollment growth, although that has not happened because the school district tries hard to forecast enrollment.

It’s true, had voters approved either the 10-year school plant facilities levy in March or the bond measure in May, Gem County property taxpayers would have paid more in school property taxes in the next year. But that would have decreased as the local assessed value increased because more people would share the burden for the same dollar amount.

Because it can be confusing, I’ll say it another way: The increased assessed value means that the tax rate (percentage) will be lower to generate the same amount of money. That’s why bond payments and supplemental levy payments go down from year-to-year. Local patron and author Amanda Weers wrote a detailed piece about tax rate and assessed value. https://tinyurl.com/hptee2u9

The Legislature gave property owners a bit of relief by increasing the Homeowner’s exemption from $100,000 to $125,000.

We checked with the Assessor’s Office and Hollie Strang provided some additional information:

1. All properties are assessed each year (and values are adjusted to current market levels) but the county only appraises (feet on the ground) each property once in a five-year period.

2. The last day to appeal your new assessed value is June 28.

Strang offered some good news: “The Gem County Assessor’s, Clerk’s and Treasurer’s Office have worked together to come up with an estimate of taxes for 2021. Many of those who have called for the information have been pleasantly surprised that their taxes probably won’t increase to what they were expecting.”

For more information about Gem County property taxes, please visit this page. http://www.gemcounty.org/assessor/property-taxes/

2021-22 Budget

The Board of Trustees adopted the new fiscal year budget after a public hearing on Monday. One person attended the meeting. We would have loved to see more people take an active role in their local school district. Watch the recorded meeting ( https://tinyurl.com/rsd5xtys) and review the amended current budget and the proposed budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year.

Superintendent Craig Woods can be reached at cwoods@isd221.net

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