Property taxes up at least 3 percent
When Jefferson County property owners open their tax statements this week, most will notice a small increase for the 2017-18 fiscal year.
While real market values on residential properties are up about 14 percent across Jefferson County, property owners can expect to owe at least 3 percent more than last year in most locations.
"Market values increased this last year and taxable values along with them," said Jean McCloskey, county assessor. "The typical residential property owner will see at least a 3 percent increase in taxes this year, based on the increase in taxable value."
Taxable values are based on a comparison of the real market value — how much the home could sell for — and the maximum assessed value (a limit established for each property as a result of Ballot Measure 50, which took effect in 1997).
For the city of Madras, the taxable value is up 3.5 percent; for rural Madras, 4.5 percent; for Metolius, 5.1 percent; for Culver, 7.85 percent; for Crooked River Ranch, 4.7 percent; and for Three Rivers, 2.4 percent.
The billing rates, from highest to lowest are: Madras, 19.91 cents per $1,000 (up slightly); Culver, 19.50 cents (down slightly); Metolius, 19.41 cents (up slightly); Crooked River Ranch, 16.92 cents (down slightly); rural Madras, 15.78 cents (up slightly); and Three Rivers, 15.51 cents (down slightly). The lowest billing rate belongs to Ashwood, at 6.22 cents per $1,000.
The total assessed value of all real property, personal manufactured structures, personal property and utilities was $1,691,192,619 — up 3 percent over last year.
The top 10 taxpayers for the county remained the same:
. Portland General Electric, $3,423,743.67.
. Gas Transmission Northwest Corp., $554,194.65.
. Pacificorp, $514,097.29.
. Bright Wood Corp., $379,043.20.
. Warm Springs Power Enterprises, $225,293.92.
. Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Co., $184,629.51.
. Keith Manufacturing, $182,735.88.
. Safeway Inc., $133,930.86.
. Union Pacific Railroad Co., $128,072.01.
. Centurylink, $95,098.94.
"Compression" losses are down this year for most taxing districts. Measure 5, passed in 1990 to limit taxes, capped taxation at $10 per $1,000 of real market value for general government, and $5 per $1,000 for education, for a combined total of $15 per $1,000, excluding general obligation bonds.
As market values go up, McCloskey explained, "compression goes down."
Hardest hit by compression are local option levies, such as the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office's operation levy for the jail, which will lose $190,004 to compression, and School District 509-J, which will lose $125,674. The Madras Aquatic Center Recreation District will lose $54,411, and the Culver School District, $42,026.
Property tax payments, which were mailed out to Jefferson County property owners last Friday, are due at the tax collector's office by Nov. 15. Pay in person at 66 SE D St., drop your payment in the tax drop box outside the Jefferson County Courthouse Annex, or pay online at www.co.jefferson.or.us. For more information, contact the tax collector's office at 541-475-4458, or the assessor's office at 541-475-2443.