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County board studying tax impact of jail, rehab project

A Stevens County resident who owns a $175,000 home will see annual tax increases of about $160 should the county board approve a jail construction and courthouse renovation plan.

Carolyn Drude of Ehlers and Associates on Tuesday reviewed preliminary costs of the project the commissioners have been contemplating in work and regular sessions over several months.

The plan, while not finalized, includes a 40-bed jail, a new Law Enforcement Center and a complete renovation of the 62-year-old courthouse at a cost of about $12.3 million. If the board opts for other off-site work, such as building a new highway department facility, a new ambulance service building and work at the county's Human Services and public health buildings, the price tag would be about $14.8 million.

Bonds for the project, which would be paid off in 2030, would come to about $17 million. The figures are based on estimated construction costs if work begins in 2009.

Because of the scope of the project, General Obligation Jail Bonds could be used to finance $9.4 million. General Obligation Capital Improvement Bonds for courthouse renovations and the off-site work would total $5.38 million, but $4 million in county reserves would cut the bond issue to $1.38 million.

For taxpayers, that would result in an annual tax impact for the plan of:

• $23 per year for residential homestead property with a taxable market value of $25,000 to $182 for property with a value of $200,000;

• $58 per year for commercial/industrial property valued at $50,000 to $388 for property valued at $250,000.

• $141 per year for agricultural homestead property valued at $200,000 to $442 for property valued at $800,000.

• 92 cents per acre on agricultural non-homestead property valued at $1,000 per acre to $1.82 per acre for property valued at $2,000 per acre.

Drude noted that the figures were intended only for discussion purposes, and do not include county tax levies for other purposes. For ag homestead property, a value of $100,000 was assumed for a house, a garage and one acre.