• Last modified 295 days ago (Aug. 5, 2023)


Property taxes likely to soar

Peabody and Florence join Marion in proposing large tax increases; 38 units exceed revenue neutrality

Staff writer

Property taxes throughout the county are likely to soar if budget proposals being published in the Record’s Classified section are approved at public hearings through Sept. 20.

In Peabody, the owner of a $100,000 house is likely to see his or her tax bill rise by $300, according to a Record analysis. In Florence, the increase would be $168.

In Marion, the rise would be just $50 — but only if reappraisal isn’t figured in. Taking into account that Marion properties, even those without new improvements, were reassessed amid rampant inflation this spring, the actual impact could be as high as $174 on a $100,000 house.

In Hillsboro, the property tax increase on a $100,000 house would be just $6 before reappraisal and as high as $108 when inflated property values are factored in.

Disparity in total tax bills also is likely to increase.

A $100,000 house in Florence is likely to receive a property tax bill of $2,725, while a house of equal worth in Florence would pay $2,634; in Marion, $2,468; in Hillsboro, $2,072; at Pilsen, $1,645; at Marion Reservoir’s Eastshore, $1,607; and at Marion County Lake, $1,583.

Nine hearings at which taxpayers could have asked questions and sought changes in tax budgets already have been conducted. Most of them were for very small taxing units. Others hearings will begin as soon as Thursday night.

Specific times and locations are included in each notice published in the Classified section and are available along with other summary information from the county clerk’s office at

Historically, few if any taxpayers show up at budget hearings. Tax increases tend to be adopted automatically as a result.

In all, 38 of 86 taxing entities in the county are proposing exceeding their revenue neutral tax rates for the coming year.

Most of those holding the line are small units with even smaller tax levies — all but one of the county’s cemetery districts and all but two of its townships, for example.

Among cities, only Burns, Durham, Lehigh, Lincolnville, Lost Springs, and Tampa plan to hold the line.

The only school district planning to live within its revenue neutral rate is Centre.

Under law, the revenue neutral rate is what would give the taxing entity the same amount of tax money next year as it expects to receive this year.

Because of inflation of real estate appraisals, revenue neutral rates almost always are below current tax rates.

That’s especially true this year in Marion and surrounding areas.

While property values countywide have increased 2.89%, about the same as the nation’s overall inflation rate for goods and services like those purchased by government entities, property values in Marion have shot up 8.9%.

New construction and improvements contributed only tangentially to the rise in valuation.

Property values in the Marion County Lake improvement district rose even more, 9.74%, almost exactly the same as the 9.73% increase in the Eastshore Improvement District at Marion Reservoir.

Both might be interpreted as indicating rising demand for lakefront property, but values in the Pilsen Improvement District also shot up 9.26% because this was the year in which county assessors revalued property in Marion and surrounding areas.

Peabody faces an opposite dilemma. Property values there inexplicably declined 19.7% while values in no other major county taxing unit declined by more than 2.3%.

As a result, Peabody’s budget proposes a whopping 16.88 mill increase in tax rates, even though only 2.424 of those mills represent an increase over the revenue neutral rate.

Here, in rank order, is how much each major taxing unit plans to increase its tax levy over the revenue neutral rate. Those not listed have chosen to live within their revenue neutral rate or, in the case of Centre schools, actually levy 0.1% less in tax money.

Marion County1.4%
Peabody Township37.3%
Durham Park3.1%
Marion-Florence Recreation(see below)
Peabody Fire (District 4)37.5%
Clear Creek Fire (District 5)32.8%
Burns Cemetery24.4%
Colfax Fire (District 3)14.7%
County Lake Improvement10.8%
Hillsboro Recreation9.1%
West Branch Fire (District 2)6.2%
St. Luke Hospital1.9%

A new one-mill levy is being proposed for the newly created Marion-Florence Recreation District.

As happened with the county’s tax levy when a separate extension district was created, no obvious corresponding reductions have been noted in levies by the Marion-Florence school district or City of Marion, which formerly paid for recreation programs.

Before a referendum last fall at which the recreation district was approved, interim superintendent and recreation district proponent Lee Leiker said: “We won’t even necessarily do a tax. Statutes authorize that ability but certainly don’t mandate it. This one mill that’s possible certainly has no bearing on why we’re doing this at all.”

Final mill rates will not be established until this fall. Typically, they rise slightly with resolution of reappraisal appeals.

As of now, however, here are the mill rates being proposed by major taxing units based in the county compared to current mill rates for each unit along with the percentage change in those mill rates.

Marion County 76.046+1.4%
Durham  28.257  –2.7%
Florence  100.286  +14.3%
Goessel  57.266  –6.9%
Hillsboro  42.139  –1.1%
Lehigh  82.802  +2.3%
Lincolnville  58.432  +1.9%
Lost Springs  22.288  –3.4%
Marion  74.774  +3.4%
Peabody  90.183  +23.0%
Ramona  106.262  +0.7%
Tampa  49.513  +0.2%
Centre  36.947  –0.1%
Peabody-Burns  46.867  +8.7%
Marion-Florence  51.386  —
Durham-Hillsboro-Lehigh  61.813  —
Goessel  56.558  –1.3%
Hillsboro  1.000  +0.1%
Peabody-Burns  1.721  –2.0%
Marion-Florence  1.000   (new)
Goessel  1.197  -5.9%
Catlin  0.190  –5.0%
Centre  0.799  –6.0%
Clear Creek  0.094  –5.1%
Doyle  1.389  –7.3%
Durham Park  1.432  —
East Branch  0.757  –1.6%
Fairplay  1.191  +5.9%
Gale  1.866  –0.1%
Grant  1.864  –4.0%
Lehigh  4.642  –4.4%
Liberty  4.978  –3.5%
Logan  0.378  –4.5%
Menno  5.679  –11.9%
Peabody  8.034  +46.6%
Risley  3.653  –5.2%
Wilson  1.847  —
Burns  1.899  +22.3%
Claney  0.562  –0.9%
College Hill  1.695  –0.8%
French Creek  0.177  –5.3%
Gard  0.821  –4.2%
Grant  1.177  –4.0%
Lewis  1.163  +2.7%
Lincolnville  1.299  –4.1%
Lost Springs  1.136  –5.3%
Pilsen  0.679  —
Prairie Lawn  2.538  +1.6%
Summit  2.454  +2.8%
Tampa  1.529  –0.3%
Whitewater  1.134  +2.3%
Clear Creek (No. 5)  9.543  +26.5%
Colfax (No. 3)  7.821   +18.4%
Durham (No. 1)  6.076   –1.7%
Lost Springs (No. 6)  5.677  –3.3%
Peabody (No. 4)  6.996   +40.0%
Tampa (No. 7)  2.700  +2.7%
West Branch (No. 2)  6.021  —
County Lake  2.125  —
Eastshore  2.866  –9.7%
Pilsen  12.202  –9.3%
Chisholm Trail Extension  1.658  –2.8%
Cottonwood Drainage  3.111  –3.3%
Doyle Creek Watershed  1.989  +2.9%
St. Luke Hospital  9.063   —

Last modified Aug. 5, 2023