Farmland in Wood County has grown considerably in value the past three years, according to data released recently by the Ohio Department of Taxation.
The 2011 Current Agriculture Use Value (CAUV) figures for the county show a ”significant increase” from 2008, said Wood County auditor Mike Sibbersen, who will host an informational meeting Aug. 29 to discuss the soil valuation process.
The three most common soils in the county, Hoytville clay loam, Nappanee loam, and Mermill Aurand have more than doubled in valuation in the past three years, with Nappanee loam more than tripling from $300 an acre in 2008 to $1,000 this year.
Wood County has 321,903 acres – about 81 percent of the county’s entire acreage - enrolled in the valuation program, according to Sibbersen. He’s calculated agricultural landowners in the program have saved more than $10.8 million in property taxes this year by being taxed at the CAUV rate rather than at market values.
The meeting, which will be held at 7 p.m. at the Junior Fair Building of the Wood County Fairgrounds, will be a forum for explaining how the valuation process is implemented and the effect it has on property taxes and entities that rely on them such as school districts.
The Wood County Farm Bureau is also hosting the meeting.
An increase in value doesn’t necessarily compute to a comparable increase in property taxes, Sibbersen said, because voted levy millage is reduced by the state to eliminate windfalls for taxing authorities.
“This is an important concept to understand because the soil updates are calculated to reflect the revenues and expenses experienced by farm owners, not to create new revenue for the taxing authorities. Even though recent farm sales have risen to as much as $4,000 per acre and more, CAUV value calculations only reflect production capabilities and not agricultural property sales.”
There are, however, six school districts in Wood County that have reached their guaranteed “millage floor” of 20 mills for funding operating expenses and can’t be factored below that level: Eastwood, Elmwood, Lakota, Otsego, Gibsonburg, and McComb. (State law specifies that the application of tax reduction factors cannot cause a school district’s effective current expense millage rate to fall below 20 mills.)
Ohio voters approved a constitutional amendment creating the CAUV program and since 1974 a majority of the state’s farmland has been taxed at that value rather than market value.
The program is voluntary and the state re-calculates each county’s soil values every three years based on each type’s productivity.
The taxation department attributes the recent increase in values to higher crop yields and prices and historically low interest rates.
Property owners enrolled in the CAUV program will receive notices stating the new soil valuations and may review their data by contacting their county auditors.