Soil tax; landowners in KOTA Territory paying too much? - KOTA Territory News

Soil tax; landowners in KOTA Territory paying too much?

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Is land being taxed for more than it's actually worth? That was a topic discussed at a Meade County Legislative Crackerbarrel.

Robert Heidgerken, Meade county commissioner, says land that is assessed as having better soil, that could be used for crops, is being taxed more even if the land is only being used to graze cattle, and not for crops.

Heidgerken says when assessors or county commissioners try to change the way the land is taxed, the Department of Revenue says they can't, because then the landowners wouldn't meet the 85% full and true value, or in other words, owners wouldn't be able to pay 85% of what the Department of Revenue thinks every acre in the county is worth.

Heidgerken says this is a broken and unfair system. "It's really frustrating as a county commissioner to sit here and take the abuse the state says we have to take," said Heidgerken. "I'm really unhappy; I don't agree with the Department of Revenue all."

Representative Gary Cammack, R-District 29, says a bill is in legislation which proposes actual use. Actual use which means land would be taxed based on what it's actually used for, not what it could be used for.

Cammack says it's in the committee process, but he's not too optimistic about it right now. "I'm not sure that it's going to be able to come out of the committee, and the reason is because we need the hard numbers that will tell what happens if we go to actual use," said Cammack "What kind of a significant dollar change that will be, and where a potential shift could go."

Cammack says he thinks actual use carries some merit, but more research needs to be done about it.

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