In San Juan County, half of the acreage is taxed at fair market value. The other 49.4 percent is not.
This is the first of a series of articles on property taxes in San Juan County. Existing inequities, the controversy regarding the Current Use programs, changes being considered, the amount of taxes shifted from those receiving the tax breaks to those who must make up the difference will be addressed in this series articles.
There are 20,016 parcels in San Juan County totaling 110,198 acres.
1,236 parcels equal 49.4 percent of the acreage (54,414 acres) and receive some kind of tax break. These 1,236 parcels are either classified as exempt, Current Use or Designated Forest Land.
The Current Use programs are Open Space, Farm/Agriculture, Farm/Agriculture Conservation and Timber Lands. These account for 14.8 percent or 16,347 acres. The amount of property tax due is lowered by a percentage determined by a formula and approved the county Council after a public hearing.
Designated Forest Land accounts for 13.7 percent or 15,089 acres. Land is placed in this category after approval by the county Assessor.
The remaining 20.9 percent or 22,978 acres includes land with conservation easements, property owned by the Land Bank, the San Juan Preservation Trust property, seniors or disabled property owners enrolled in the Senior/Disabled program, owners enrolled in the Personal Property Head of Family Exemption and federal land.
The county receives Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) funds from the federal Department of Interior for the federal land in the county (Department of Natural Resources and Bureau of Land Management Land).
In fiscal year 2012, $5,924 was received for the BLM land. Due to the sequester the amount for 2013 will be $5,783.
The DNR owned lands are at Cattle Point on San Juan and Point Doughty on Orcas. The calculation of DNR PILT for 2012 came to $19,937.27.
NEXT TUESDAY: CURRENT USE: Open Space program - what is it, how is it scored how big are the tax breaks?