I have had letters, phone calls and e-mails from a large number of property owners who are not too happy with this increase in valuation, and some owners
who indicate they actually cannot afford to pay these tax increases, and may be forced to sell their property. That would be tough to do in this market, since the Real
Estate market in general is severely depressed. I have advised people to hang on until this current "adjustment" turns around, but despite my optimism, it looks like
things will get worse before things turn around and head the other way. Recent economic forecasts reinforce those timeframe projections. I think that the first
half of 2012 may be even worse than 2011, but we should bottom out by the end of the year and start on the road to recovery. And with all of the parcels currently
on the market, we will have to start selling off the lower priced existing inventory before the market swing upward will take place. So it might be a long wait.
There is a little work involved on your part, and it will cost you $50.00 per year that you will have to pay to the Cattle Company. This fee basically helps them in
processing paperwork so that the Assessor's Office can classify your property with the Agricultural Exemption. The lease agreements are for a period of three years
and will terminate upon the sale of the property. So, if you are granted this exemption and decide to sell your property, the new property owner would have to make the
decision to enter into a new lease agreement or just pay the higher tax rate when the lease ends. From where I sit, it is a good investment to pay this $50.00 per year if it will
significantly reduce my property taxes. I researched the difference in the taxes, and in 2006 there were two Whispering Ranch properties side by side - pretty much identical.
One paid the normal tax rate of $108.00 that year. The adjoining parcel had the Agricultural Exemption and the taxes were $9.80 for the same tax period. And if the taxes on a
parcel follow the valuation amount, this saving will be even more signficant once the new tax bills come out!! It could amount to hundreds of dollars saved every year. I don't know
how much my taxes will rise in the future - the Assessor may reduce the tax rate somewhat, but you can bet that the taxes will rise. A good bet is that taxes will continue to increase
until the County finds a way to balance the budget with cuts, but don't hold your breath on that one.
It has come to my attention from a number of property owners that even though the parcel valuations are going down, the actual dollar amount of taxes
they will pay is on the increase. Evidently, since Maricopa County is running at a deficit, they are increasing the tax rate to generate more money. So even
though your parcel is worth less, you will be paying more taxes on it. And there's no end in sight. As long as the County is deficit spending, they will try to
make up for the shortages by raising taxes. And when the County recovers from the current downturn, they won't have to raise the tax rate, they will let more
sales activity and price increases raise the valuation of the properties. Heads, they win . . Tails, you lose !!
I have been getting a lot of positive input from those folks who are taking advantage of the Grazing Leases and the Agricultural Exemption from taxes.
Maybe you should consider this for your properties too.
Here are the forms you will need (though Maricopa County does require that you use their 3-part carbonless forms when you submit your application)
these will get you started. And the backup information is here as well. It probably would be a good idea to print up all of this stuff and read through it so
you are somewhat familiar with it when you call and ask for their "specific" forms. And feel free to contact the Cattle Companies and the staff in the various
offices. If you approach them, they will normally be pretty helpful.
Agricultural Land Use Application (DOR 82916)
Statement of Agricultural Land Lease (DOR 82917)
Agricultural Property Manual
Agricultural Exemption - Submittal Forms Index
Sample Pasture Lease
Pasture Lease Information
I just received my tax bill from Maricopa County for our 5 acre lot at Whispering Ranch. I could not believe the sharp drop in taxes over last year - $478.60 vs $4.60. Thanks to you we learned of the grazing rights lease arrangement through Mark Lee at B. & J. Cattle Co. This method amounts to a total of $54.60 for the year - quite a bargain compared to the county barrons. I'd much rather help the rancher any day.
This notice also served as a reminder to us that we owe Mark the lease amount of $10 per acre per year, so I just mailed my check to cover the lease for all of 2010 through December, 2011.
Again, I take this opportunity to thank you for assisting us to take these money saving steps. I also thank you for the frequent news letters that give us an idea of what is taking place at Whispering Ranch. When and if these lots become attractive again, you can place our lot on the market.
George & Janice Lance
I had a feeling that something like this was on the horizon when the economy went into the tank. With Maricopa County operating at a budget deficit, they are looking to
ANY revenue source, even putting in some "temporary" taxes. I had a gut feeling that they would do whatever they could to maintain or possibly even increase tax revenues
with no regard for the impact on the public at large. The Grazing Leases with a ' bona fide' Cattle Company and resulting Agricultural Exemption dramaticaly reduces the tax
bill on the land parcels in Whispering Ranch. If the average Whispering Ranch parcel pays about $400 a year in taxes and there are approximately 3400 of them, the tax income
for the County from this area would be $1,360,000. But if every parcel had the Agricultural Exemption and paid $50 (which is a high estimate of the tax amount) the County tax
income would be $170,000 - a loss of $1,190,000 in tax revenue. So the County needs to put the brakes on this process. They need the money. And, since the past attitude
of the County officials has been autocratic, I don't expect we will see any coopertion with Mark Lee at B&J Cattle Company to resolve this issue.
How will this impact you ? ? Well, if you currently are taking advantage of the Agricultural Exemption in Whispering Ranch, and if your grazing Lease is with B&J Cattle Company,
you may well see your 2011 taxes go up to the normal residential rate. I don't think that the County Agricultural Department or the State Agricultural Department can allow two different
Cattle firms to graze the same area. So if they can remove a company from their "Approved List" the Agricultural Exemption goes away . . . and Tax Revenues go up.
If you want more information, want to file a protest, object to this action or just make your voice heard, it might be a good idea to contact the Maricopa County Assessor's
office. Keith Russell is our current Assessor. I will acknowledge that he is in a tough spot with a depressed economy, but that shouldn't stop him from choosing what is right over
what is economically beneficial in the short term. You can reach him at (602) 506-3406.
Keith Russell, Maricopa County Assessor,
Marita Lammie, Agricultural Supervisor
Joe Parprati, Chief Appraiser
David "Beau" Boisvert, Land Division Manager
Daron Back, Property Appraiser
If, in your dealings with these folks, you should come up with mire current e-mail addresses, telephone numbers or anything that would help others get in touch with these "Public Servants", feel free to pass the information along to me at this web site by sending me an e-mail, and I'll post the information here.
Copyright 2004-2013, J. D. Liberty