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As board of equalization, Philip City Council presented no property valuation objections

Acting as a board of equalization, the Philip City Council met Monday, March 15, at 3:30 p.m.

No objections with property valuations within the city limits had been filed with the city finance office. The deadline to file objections had been March 10 at 5:00 p.m.

Rita Merrill, director of equalization for Haakon County, presented her annual report to the city council.

"Everybody is happy," Merrill began. "Consequently, we have had no formal objections this year. I haven't really heard any complaints in town."

She added, "This year, though, most of Philip has to be reassessed, so next year brace yourself. But, it's what we have to do."

New construction within the city limits during 2009, referred to as growth, totaled as an evaluation of $102,726. "As far as growth, there wasn't much, but better than nothing," said Merrill. "The consumer price index (CPI) is at zero." The CPI is one factor that can be used in the property taxation process. Legally, raises in taxes per year are restricted to match the CPI or to a maximum of three percent, whichever is smaller. Mill levies are applied to property valuations to determine the amount of taxes on individual properties in a taxable district.

Merrill updated the council on the state's new productivity procedure for agriculture land evaluation. It is a state-wide procedure, but county-wide valuations vary across the state. "The difficulty is the assessed value of some land went up 20-25 percent. But, remember the taxable value is only 85 percent, thus there is only a nine to 10 percent raise." Merrill added that the valuations determined on property are not taxable until the following year and that the mill levy has often gone down in various districts.

Previously, Merrill had announced her retirement, effective July 1. She will be training her replacement, once that person has been hired by the county commissioners.

With no filed formal property valuation objections, the city meeting as a board of equalization lasted 10 minutes. Mayor John Hart has often commented that the city meeting is just a required stepping stone toward the county board of equalization meeting.

The Haakon County commissioners will meet as a board of equalization on April 13 at 9:00 a.m. The filing date deadline for valuation objections with the county auditor is April 6.