The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

Property tax mill rate expected to remain at 20 mill rate

Council set to pass yearly resolution for commercial and residential land

 


The Valdez City Council was set to approve this year’s property tax assessment at 20 mills during its regular meeting Tuesday night. The rate has remained at 20 mills since the 2013 tax year.

The City of Valdez notes that the 20 mill rate is applied to all property owners.

While the mill rate will remain the same, some property owners may see an increase if their property has appreciated in value.

Property tax mills are calculated by multiplying the assessed value of property by the mill rate and then divide by 1,000. At 20 mills, property with an assessed value of $50,000 will have a property tax bill of $1,000 per year.

Homeowners receive a $50,000 exemption from the assessed value if the home is the primary residence of the owner.

This year’s estimates for oil properties in Valdez are valued at $1,920,886,870. Other private properties in Valdez are valued at $268,767,600.

This compares to the 2016 valuation of $1,920,790,660 for oil and gas properties, and $260,022,366 for all other real property.

In 2014, non-oil related properties were valued at $259,929,774 and oil related properties were assessed at a taxable value of $2,303,919,180.

By law, local taxing authorities may not impose a higher or lower tax rate for any one type of property.

Brian Carlson, the city's finance director, says the city is allowed to collect up $42,256,948, based on a formula imposed by the state that limits the amount a municipality can collect on property taxes based on its population.

Valdez expects to collect more than that this year.

"A twenty-mill rate yields excess revenues of $1,536,141," Carlson said in his agenda statement to council, and explains how the city can collect the additional revenue and how it must be spent according to state law.

"...the City may retain these revenues if they are applied to “principal and interest on bonds," he said in the statement. "The City’s scheduled debt service payments in 2017 total over $4MM, which enables the City to retain all excess revenues."

For the past several years, Valdez has collected several million dollars above the amount it is allowed to collect for education and its general fund; the excess revenue has been used to pay off debt for the hospital building it owns and the new middle school. The new harbor project added over $20 million in bond indebtedness.

Property tax notices are sent to owners of record in February, and any appeals to the city's board of equalization are due at the end of March.

Taxes can be paid in installments, with the first half due in early August, the second half due in October.

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