For the second time in as many years, agricultural land valuations have dropped across Yellow Medicine County shifting the overall county tax burden toward residential and commercial/industrial properties heading into 2016.

For the second time in as many years, agricultural land valuations have dropped across Yellow Medicine County shifting the overall county tax burden toward residential and commercial/industrial properties heading into 2016.

The information was presented to commissioners during last week’s Yellow Medicine County Board meeting by YMC Assessor Connie Erickson. According to Erickson, YMC townships saw as  little as ‘no change’ and as much as an 11 percent decline in property values, with the depreciation most notable in northeastern townships.

Erickson also noted that agricultural land owners would not only receive financial relief from the decline in property values, but also from changes instituted to the Homestead Credit program.

“Previously, in past years, any ag classifications have been losing acres where they had been getting a Homestead Credit tax break,” she said. “This year, because land values have gone down for taxes payable in 2016, they have actually increased the credit’s limit from $1.9 million to $2.14 million, increasing the extent of the credit.”

When calculating land values for 2016, Erickson considered the sales of land between October 2014 and September 2015 in each township, as well as neighboring townships, including those across the county border.

Any fluctuation in valuation is meant to equalize sales within the spread of 90-105 percent of market value. If residences or land sell consistently above or below that zone, valuations change.

Up until the last two years of decline, the county had gone 15 straight years in which it watched agricultural property values rise. The valuation decline is expected to continue as the trend, at least for the forseeable future.

As for valuations on residential and commercial/industrial properties, the 2016 assessment found no need for changes. Of note, however, were the number of residential and commercial sales. In sum, there were 49 residential property sales and no commercial/industrial. Of the home sales, 16 occurred in Granite Falls, 14 in Canby and 11 in Clarkfield.