Welcome to the Wyoming Legislature’s Joint Revenue Committee’s first meeting, held in Sheridan, Wyoming. This meeting is focused on discussing property taxes in Big Horn County, Wyoming. The County Commissioners will be presenting their insights and recommendations regarding tax issues.
Importance of Property Taxes for Wyoming Counties
Property taxes are the largest source of revenue for Wyoming counties, constituting an average of 68.174 mills. The Constitution limits counties to levy up to 12 mills or 1.2% of the assessed value. In 2022, property taxes in Wyoming amounted to $1.73 billion, with 17.23% allocated to counties. The remaining funds were distributed among schools, special districts, and municipalities across the state. The top seven revenue-generating counties accounted for 72% of all property taxes, highlighting the substantial disparity between counties in terms of tax revenue.
County Mill Levies
The mill levy, a key factor in calculating property taxes, varies across the state. Out of the 23 Wyoming counties, 20 assess the full 12 mills, while three counties have lower mill levies. Campbell County assesses 11.235 mills, Fremont County assesses 10 mills, and Teton County assesses 7.379 mills. These variations in mill levies directly impact the amount of taxes levied against property owners.
Analysis of Property Tax Distribution
An analysis of the per mill assessment reveals interesting insights into property taxes in Wyoming. Campbell County, being the highest producer per mill, sets the benchmark for comparison. Bighorn County has to assess 18 mills to equal one Campbell County mill, while Niobrara County has to assess 30 mills. This demonstrates the influence of mineral-rich areas on property tax systems. Additionally, the breakdown of property tax revenue shows that 17 counties receive more than 25% of their revenue from the “all other” category, while nine counties receive 50% or more from this category. Understanding these figures is crucial when considering potential changes to the property tax structure.
Impact of Property Tax Adjustments
Adjustments to property taxes can have significant implications for county budgets and residents. For example, Washakie County relies on federal government programs, such as payment in lieu of taxes (PILT) and direct distribution, for 43% of its budget. A reduction in mill levies can affect these funding sources and result in decreased revenue for the county. Similarly, Converse County would forego approximately $8.7 million in revenue if it reduced its mill levy by two mills. While this change would save residential property owners around $68.81 on their property tax bills, it would have a substantial impact on the county’s overall budget. This highlights the need for careful consideration and targeted relief measures when adjusting property taxes.
Increase in Assessed Valuation
From 2019 to 2022, there has been a significant increase in the assessed valuation for the “all other” category of properties. Teton County accounts for 44.69% of this increase, raising the total assessed valuation from $7.8 billion to $10.6 billion. This observation underscores the importance of specific counties and their contribution to the overall property tax base in Wyoming.
Property taxes play a crucial role in funding county operations in Wyoming. With counties heavily reliant on property tax revenue, any adjustments to the tax structure must be carefully considered. The disparities between counties, particularly in terms of revenue generation, require targeted relief measures to ensure that those in need receive assistance. The findings presented in this meeting offer valuable insights into property taxes in Big Horn County, Wyoming, and serve as a foundation for future discussions on tax policy.