EPHRATA – The Grant County assessor is looking to farmers for help in determining how much farmland is worth.
Assessor Melissa McKnight is working on changing the “current use” program. The program gives farmland owners a discount on their property value. The program divides farmland into six categories of land use referred to as soil types. The categories are:
Presently the best soil type category is getting the lowest assessment for property taxes, she said. The soil type Root 1 is assessed $310 per acre less than the next lower type.
McKnight said she wants to make the property values fairer to the farmland property owners. She proposed two possible solutions.
The first option is a larger change affecting more of the owners. The proposed changes are:
Increasing the value for the Hay 1 classification by $140 per acre to $1,815 per acre
Increasing the value for the Hay 2 classification by $5 to $1,215 per acre
Increasing the value of the Root 1 classification by $575 to $2,630 per acre
Increasing the value of the Root 2 classification by $205 to $2,490 per acre
Decreasing the value of the Root 3 classification by $75 to $2,350 per acre
Decreasing the value of the Row classification by $580 to $1,815 per acre
The second option is a set of more gradual changes affecting fewer of the owners. The proposed changes are:
Increasing the value of the Root 1 classification by $415 to $2,470 per acre
Decreasing the value of the Root 3 classification by $325 to $2,100 per acre
Decreasing the value of the Row classification by $720 to $1,675 per acre
The other classifications would remain the same
McKnight said she can’t make any changes for the 2015 taxes since the statements were already sent, but she is working on changing it for 2016. She is considering options to reimburse farmland owners, who paid more than their land was worth.
“I want to make it right,” she said. “It’s not fair to the farmers how it was done.”
She is seeking information from farmers to confirm how much the property is worth. She wants to know how long farmers are leasing properties, the soil type category and what type of irrigation.
“I’m not asking for location,” she said. “We’re trying to get the base information we need without farmers feeling like they’re giving up their proprietary information I don’t need parcel numbers. I don’t need names.”
The information will help McKnight determine whether the property values should change more.
To contact the assessor’s office, call 509-754-2011 ext. 2610.