Tax cap savings

Carson City residents on Monday started receiving new-look property tax bills reflecting a tax cap passed by state lawmakers earlier this year - bills that show not only how much home owners owe, but how much they saved.

Property values skyrocketed 40 percent to 45 percent last year in northeast Carson City as well as in the northeast and southwest sections of downtown, said Assessor Dave Dawley. But residents in those areas will be charged only the cap-mandated 3 percent hike in taxes.

The difference will be posted on the new bills in a column title "abatement," showing property owners how much more would have been charged without a cap.

The total abatement adds up to nearly $1.2 million. The city's portion of that, for its operating budget is nearly $412,000, plus another $14,000 for the city debt fund. Carson City Finance Director Tom Minton said after other types of property, like equipment, is factored in, the difference will be more than $450,000.

"Coming into this (year's budget) we knew we were going to be capped," Ritter said, and the city's spending plan was drawn up accordingly.

If there were no cap and the city did get another $450,000 this year, Ritter said it likely would have gone towards hiring more workers for various city departments.

"We got over $1 million in requests for extra personnel, but we were only able to allow $300,000 worth," Ritter said.

The most glaring need for workers was the justice court, Ritter said, which received money for one additional employee.

The Carson City School District, the other major recipient of property tax dollars, received about $331,000 less for operations than it would have without the cap, and about another $207,000 for district debt, for a total difference of nearly $540,000.

Next year the amount taxpayers save because of the cap figures to be even more.

While the assessment of many Carson City homes didn't jump more than the 3 percent cap within the last year, all will likely see a major savings posted on next year's bill.

Each year about one fifth of the city is physically reappraised for taxes. The value of land, homes and businesses in the rest of the city is adjusted based on a formula that includes a state-set percentage and recent land sales.

The statewide land value increase applied to all homes was 2 percent this year. Next year it will be 12 percent as the state tries to catch up with the booming actual value of property in Nevada, Dawley said.

"As long as land value continues to rise the way it has been, that abatement amount is going to rise," said Ritter.

n Contact reporter Cory McConnell at or 881-1217.


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