By Mark Waite
Property tax rates will go up slightly this year for local property owners. Again the culprit is the town of Pahrump.
The combined property tax rate for the fiscal year that began July 1 for a Pahrump property owner will increase from $3.3015 per $100 of valuation to $3.3752.
That’s still well below small communities like Tonopah at $3.6399, Beatty at $3.3364, and Amargosa Valley at $3.6567, which kept their tax rates, but are near the maximum tax cap of $3.64 per $100 of valuation allowed by state law.
That rate can be exceeded with a taxpayer-approved override.
The town of Pahrump hiked its tax rate from 37.04 cents per $100 of valuation to 43.08 cents this year.
Last year, the town increased its tax from 24.3 cents, which accounted for the increase in the combined Pahrump property tax last year from $3.14 per $100 to $3.30.
The Pahrump town tax rate was raised as an issue by County Commissioner Joni Eastley recently in response to printed remarks by Pahrump Town Board Chairman Vicky Parker that the county has trouble balancing its budget, but the town comes in under budget every year.
Parker’s comments were turned back on her by Eastley, who noted the 52 percent town tax increase enacted July 1, 2011; their discussion occurred when the county commission on July 3 decided to put a question on this November’s ballot to downgrade the Pahrump town board to advisory board status.
The Pahrump Library District also had a slight increase in the tax rate effective July 1 from .0662 cents to .0781 cents per $100; the Pahrump swimming pool tax rate went up from .0131 cents to .0145 cents.
Town of Pahrump Finance Director Mike Sullivan was on vacation and unable to explain the reason for the tax rate increases.
“Those are the rates that were given to us by the state of Nevada. They have a justification for the reasoning,” Pahrump Town Manager Bill Kohbarger said. “It was talked about, everybody knew about it and it was approved.”
The tax rate is compensation for the declining economy, to keep the town revenues up to standard, Kohbarger said.
The Pahrump Town Board was asked the last two years in a row whether they wanted to keep the old tax rate and they declined, in favor of the tax rate recommended by the Nevada Department of Taxation, he said.
Taxable property values dropped from $1.07 billion to $1.033 billion excluding redevelopment. But the net proceeds of mining increased county property values to $1.23 billion.
Nye County officials whittled down a $2.7 million deficit by instituting 38-hour work weeks, cutting overtime in half and a freeze on employee raises and STEP increases.
School district unions agreed to wage cuts of 1.75 percent to 2 percent to avoid layoffs.
The various Nye County communities have tax rates for library districts, in Amargosa Valley, Beatty, Pahrump, Tonopah and the Smoky Valley Library District.
The bulk of the property tax, amounting to $2.8518 per $100 of valuation, is made up of the state, county and school district tax rate.
A person who lives in rural areas of the county outside communities like Pahrump, Amargosa Valley, Tonopah, Gabbs, Round Mountain, Beatty and Manhattan would pay just that tax rate.
Nye County kept its $1.3468 per $100 tax rate, of which almost $1 goes to the general fund, the rest are tax revenues dedicated to the agriculture extension, medical indigent funds, museum, health clinic, juvenile probation, a capital projects tax, youth services, even a 911 emergency tax.
The state of Nevada taxes property at 17 cents per $100. School districts statewide have a tax of 75 cents per $100.
The Nye County School District adds 58.5 cents per $100 for debt service, for a combined school tax rate of $1.335 per $100.
In addition to the property taxes, property owners pay a $30 per parcel fee for the landfill fund, which was just made permanent by county commissioners.
A $5 per parcel fee to operate the Nye County Water District and a $1 assessment to the state engineer’s office for properties in Pahrump and Amargosa Valley.
Properties are taxed at 35 percent of their assessed value. That means a home valued at $100,000 would only be taxed on $35,000.
If a Pahrump property owner didn’t experience any change in their property appraisal and didn’t have any other exemptions, their tax bill for that $100,000 property, taxed at $35,000, would increase from $1,155.52 to $1,181.32, an increase of $25.80.
Property taxes can be paid in quarterly installments; they are due the third Monday of August, the first Monday in October, the first Monday in January and the first Monday in March.
Partial property tax exemptions are available to widows, orphans, veterans, disabled veterans and blind people who meet certain requirements.
A senior citizen tax assistance rental rebate is available to persons 62 years or older whose annual household income is not greater than $21,500.