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Sun, May 26

Prescott lowers tax rate for fifth straight year

PRESCOTT –As it has for the past five years, the primary property-tax rate for Prescott property owners is falling again this year.

The Prescott City Council approved the new tax at a special session this week.

The city's new primary tax rate stands at 26.6 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, down from 29 cents in fiscal 2001. The city's secondary property tax rate also decreased – from 55.9 cents in fiscal 2001 to 51.9 cents this fiscal year.

The approximately six-cent, or 7.6-percent rate reduction for fiscal 2002 puts the city's combined tax rate at 78.5 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.

The city uses primary property tax revenues for general fund purposes such as police and fire protection. The city bases its primary property-tax rate on an $820,000 levy. That is how much the city collects from property owners for the year. The city's levy has stayed the same for three consecutive years.

By law, the city could collect as much as $1.67 million in primary taxes from property owners.

However, the council has chosen in the last decade either to reduce the levy or to keep it constant.

The property-tax levy amounts to about 4 percent of the city's approximately $20.6 million general fund budget for fiscal 2002.

Secondary property tax revenues go to pay the debt service on voter-approved bonds for the Prescott Police headquarters and the purchase of Willow/Watson lakes.

The city's secondary property-tax levy for fiscal year 2002 is about $1.7 million.

Mark Woodfill, Prescott budget and finance director, said residents can expect their property-tax rates to continue falling as the city's levy remains steady and new construction adds to the assessed valuation within city limits.

The city's new property tax rates take into account increased assessed values from new construction in the city limits – estimated to be worth about $15.4 million -- and increased property values in general.

Total estimated net assessed valuation for city properties is about $307.9 million.

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