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Wed, Oct. 16

First-half property taxes due by Nov. 1

PRESCOTT — Pay the first half of your property taxes by Nov. 1, or pay a 16-percent delinquent fee.

That’s one of the messages about Yavapai County property taxes from County Treasurer Ross Jacobs.

“It’s a time of year when some folks still aren’t thinking about paying a bill,” Jacobs said. “We seem to get calls, every year, from folks who didn’t know the amount goes up if you miss Nov. 1.”

Another message Jacobs has: increases that Yavapai County residents see in county tax — likely at the very top of the list — are due largely to the financing of a county jail in the Prescott area, which has an estimated price tag of $68 million. The county must raise 18 percent more revenue in Fiscal 2020 than it did this year, though the bite is being felt differently by each property owner. The higher the assessed property value, the bigger the increase.

The City of Cottonwood, City of Sedona and the Town of Camp Verde have no property taxes, while Clarkdale and Jerome have municipal property taxes that go into Yavapai County tax bills.

County residents generally pay more for fire service in the form of a Copper Canyon or Verde Valley Fire District primary tax. Cities such as Cottonwood, however, pay for fire service through general funds raised through sales tax.

The district’s portion of the tax for one Verde Village No. 4 property will go up $107 from 2018, and will be more than $460 for that primary levy alone. That’s part of nearly $400 in overall property tax increases this year for that property, which has a 2019 tax bill of more than $1,700 and has an assessed value of $144,000.

One Cornville property has a Verde Valley Fire District levy that totals more than $800 in 2019 — an increase of $36.

Jacobs points out that the fire district and jail increase are not entirely to blame. Public school districts also have complicated formulas that lead to a portion of property taxes.

“Some of the formulas for districts are so complicated, those are confusing — even to me,” Jacobs said. “Levies and bond issues are the kinds of multipliers that mean you really have to get into the weeds to know all the things you’re paying for.”

Yavapai County Assessor Judd Simmons said home sale prices have risen about 2 percent over the past year, along with an increase of 5 percent in the total number of home sales. Average sale prices in an area are used as part of calculating assessed values, he said.

Simmons said different parts of the county pose different challenges in calculating average sale prices.

“With Sedona, a lot of property is changing hands, so we have a lot to go by,” Simmons said. “A much smaller community like Jerome, however, there aren’t that many sales to use as comparisons.”

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