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TOTAL LOSS: $210,000
  County pegs 2013 tax loss from dry land, refunds impact special districts
 by SAMANTHA TIPLER, Herald and News 3/12/14

     When irrigated land went dry in the Upper Klamath Basin last summer and couldn’t be used for ag production, Klamath County reassessed it and sent tax refunds to between 1,200 and 1,300 accounts. The county has added up the cost and it affects special districts as well as the county as a whole.

   Klamath County commissioners have quoted the total refund from the 2013 tax year at $218,000. A list of how those refunds cut into the county and special districts amounted to $210,334.

   Most of the districts’ tax dollars dropped by less than one percent, said Leonard Hill, Klamath County Assessor.
    Mallams noted this year the tax will not be refunded; instead, additional taxes will not be collected  

   The largest amount dropped was $105,123 from the Klamath County School District. The district also saw a reduction of $14,601 from its facilities bond. Both decreases were only a little more than three-quarters of one percent of the total taxes for the district and the bond.

   The biggest percentage hit fell on Bly Vector Control District, which lost $5,491, or 11.8 percent of its total tax dollars.

   The county itself lost $44,951, or half a percent of its tax dollars.

   “When this land is getting dried up and re-assessed, it’s not only a hit to the Klamath County budget that we operate on, but it also is a big deal to a lot of the other districts,” commission chairman Jim Bellet said during the board of commissioners   public meeting Tuesday. “When you think of Klamath County losing that money, it’s not just Klamath County operating on our budget. It affects all these other people.”

   Looking at the coming irrigation season and the ongoing drought in the Klamath Basin, commissioners and Hill said things will likely be worse this year.

   “There are so many variables involved,” Hill said in an email, “however; there is the possibility of about three times as much land going from irrigated to dry this year. So, the loss of revenue to all the taxing districts in those areas could be $600,000 or more.”

   “It will be worse this year,” Bellet predicted. “It’s an ongoing concern we need to work around and try to figure out how to mitigate this as   best we can.”

   “The effects this year could be three to four times as much,” said commissioner Tom Mallams.

   Mallams noted this year the tax will not be refunded, but instead additional taxes on dry land will not be collected in the first place.

    stipler@heraldandnews.com   @TiplerHN



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