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Cropland assessments will rise a lot for 2013

PIERRE -- A legislative aide said Friday that assessed values of cropland that are the basis for taxes payable in 2013 have climbed by a total of 25 percent in 27 South Dakota counties.

The reason: Big jumps in prices and yields that producers saw in 2011.

He said cropland assessments will go up a total of 20 percent in 26 other counties and 15 percent in the remaining 13.

Davison County saw a 20-percent increase.

Those are countywide numbers. The actual increase for a specific piece of property will vary depending on the county and the accuracy of the previous assessment.

South Dakota's productivity system for assessing cropland is based on soil types and a rolling multi-year average of prices and harvests. The productivity approach replaced the use of actual sales of comparable properties.

State law previously capped annual increases at 10 percent. The Legislature changed the system this year to allow for increases up to 25 percent.

The legislation came from the state's Agricultural Land Assessment Implementation and Oversight Advisory Task Force and was sponsored by seven lawmakers on the committee. The prime sponsor was Rep. Paul Dennert, D-Aberdeen.

Originally cropland was required to be assessed at full productivity value in 2018. The legislation extended that deadline to 2020.

Cropland assessments weren't catching up in many counties under the 10 percent cap. The change to 25 percent was intended to speed up the process and reduce the chances of giant jumps in 2020.

Fred Baatz, a member of the Legislative Research Council staff, works with the state oversight task force. He made a presentation Friday to the Legislature's Executive Board. His purpose was to alert legislators they might receive calls from landowners.

Baatz said the property-tax and budget-increase limits already in state law will minimize much of the potential for cropland owners to see big increases in their property taxes.

But, he added, those limits don't apply to such tax levies as for capital outlay and special education.

At A Glance

Assessed values used for property taxes will rise on cropland in every South Dakota county by at least 15 percent for the coming year. Here are the three categories of increases:

15 percent - Brookings, Clay, Codington, Deuel, Gregory, Jones, Lincoln, Minnehaha, Roberts, Stanley, Tripp, Turner and Union;

20 percent - Aurora, Beadle, Bon Homme, Buffalo, Charles Mix, Custer, Davison, Douglas, Grant, Hand, Hanson, Hutchinson, Hyde, Jerauld, Lake, Lyman, Marshall, McCook, McPherson, Mellette, Miner, Moody, Sanborn, Spink, Sully and Yankton; and

25 percent - Bennett, Brown, Brule, Butte, Campbell, Clark, Corson, Day, Dewey, Edmunds, Fall River, Faulk, Haakon, Hamlin, Harding, Hughes, Jackson, Kingsbury, Lawrence, Meade, Pennington, Perkins, Potter, Shannon, Todd, Walworth and Ziebach.