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County sends out tax notices for coming year

For the county overall, the numbers will increase only slightly, but some individual cities will see some major jolts.

Washington County sent out the proposed tax notices for the coming year last week, mailing 95,938 notices Nov. 24. The total amount billed will be $349.6 million for 2009, an increase of 6.1 percent over 2008.

The tax bills will reflect a decrease in property values, with the median value change at a .7 percent decrease and a median value change of a 1.2 percent decrease for homesteaded property.

At the same time there will be a total median tax increase of 1.9 percent, with a median tax change of a 1.2 percent increase on homesteaded property.

However, those slight numbers don't hold true for individual cities and townships, some of which have quite wide fluctuations in both valuations and taxes.

For example, in Baytown Township, the median change in market value is down almost 10 percent and the median tax is down more than 8 percent. The numbers are about the same for Afton.

At the same time, tiny areas like Willernie and Dellwood saw their values increase slightly, while their median tax is going up 10 percent and almost 7 percent, respectively.

Most cities and townships, however, are seeing modest increases or decreases in both market value and taxes.

Numbers for some of the county's larger cities are:

• Woodbury, with a .8 percent decrease in market value and a 1.9 percent increase in total tax;

• Cottage Grove, with a .8 percent decrease market value and a .3 percent increase in total tax;

• Stillwater, with a .7 percent decrease in market value, and no change in its total tax.

• Lake Elmo, with a .8 percent increase in market value and a 3 percent increase in total tax.

The taxable value of property in the county continues to grow, although not at the rate that it did in past years. The "local taxable value" used to determine the local tax rate, increased by 2.2 percent over 2007, to $295.5 million. That number grew between 5 percent and almost 16 percent in the previous four years.

The county's tax rate remains the second lowest in the seven-county metropolitan area, with only Dakota County having a slightly lower tax rate. That county's gross county tax rate will increase 1.4 percent, while Washington County's increased 1.6 percent.

In Dakota County, a home valued at $255,000 would be taxed $654 by the county; in Washington County, the same homeowner would be taxed $661 by the county.