WATERLOO — An expanding property tax base will give local government leaders more breathing room when setting budgets for the next fiscal year.
Reports compiled by the Black Hawk County Auditor’s Office show the taxable value of property countywide grew by more than $233 million, or 4.3 percent, during the 2017 calendar year.
The new value will be used when city councils, school boards and other taxing bodies adopt budgets this winter for the fiscal year starting July 1, 2019.
Growth in the tax base is important to local governments because it generates additional property tax revenue to cover the inflationary cost of providing services without having to raise tax rates.
County Finance Director Susan Deaton said the rising values may be particularly important to local governments this year if the Iowa Legislature eliminates or reduces funding it promised as “backfill” for commercial property tax cuts adopted in 2012.
“The increased growth would provide us with additional revenue if we kept the tax rates constant,” said Deaton, who helps the Board of Supervisors set the county government’s budget. “The growth in valuation and not needing to include Country View (care center) in the budget next year will both be beneficial, especially if the commercial backfill is reduced.”
But Deaton noted not all of the growth came from new construction. A state order boosted the percentage of home’s value used for taxing purposes by 2.3 percent for the coming fiscal year.
“With the increase in the rollback for residential property, taxpayers will pay more if tax rates remain the same as last year,” she said.
WATERLOO — A new “rollback” order will shift the property tax burden next year from business…
About $161 million of the countywide $233 million jump in the tax base came from residential property, with another $65 million coming from commercial and industrial growth and $10 million from agricultural property.
The value of multi-residential properties, primarily apartment buildings, fell nearly $18 million last year because of a 2012 law that is reducing their taxable values over time. There was also a small reduction in gas and electric utility values countywide.
Meanwhile, the value of property tied up in tax-increment financing districts across the county is dropping from $450 million to $437 million next year. Growth in TIF districts provides money to pay for economic development programs but doesn’t support local government services until the value is released.
The city of Waterloo saw its largest tax base growth in seven years. The $83.5 million, or 3.7 percent jump in taxable values is the most since a 6.6 percent increase in 2011 which was fueled by a countywide reappraisal process that raised existing property values.
Waterloo had seen its tax base fall three times since 2011.
WATERLOO — A slow-growing tax base will provide little new revenue for local government budg…
Mayor Quentin Hart believes the turnaround this year is due to city staff working to accomplish strategic goals established by the City Council, which focus on growing the tax base.
“It’s great to see the confidence from the business community and residents, from new and expanding business to a new and improved housing market and quality-of-life opportunities,” Hart said. “We are eager to keep up momentum in every part of the city.”
Waterloo still has $268 million of increment value in its TIF districts, which was a nearly $5 million increase from the previous year. Value in the East Waterloo, Martin Road, San Marnan and downtown TIF districts grew, which was offset by nearly $40 million being released from the Northeast Industrial Area district.
Meanwhile, Cedar Falls enjoyed the largest tax base increase of any city in the county this year at 6.4 percent, which was driven by continued housing construction and a large release of value from its TIF districts.
“It is always good to see continued growth,” said Jennifer Rodenbeck, Cedar Falls director of finance and business operations. “Based on the taxable valuation increases we should see about an extra $950,000 flow into our $8.10 levy.
“Of course, this early in the process we will see how those revenues will fit into our budget and how that will eventually relate to a tax rate,” she added.
Cedar Falls reduced the increment value in its TIF districts from $135 million to $105 million for the coming year, continuing a trend that saw the overall value drop from a high of $286 million in 2015.
The city released all of the value for the coming year from the College Hill and Pinnacle Prairie TIF districts because it didn’t have any debts to pay off in those districts. It also had some areas of the larger industrial park TIF expire and release value.