Cedar County sees a rare decrease in valuation

HARTINGTON — Valuation of Cedar County property went down this year for only the third time in the past 30 years.
Newly released figures for Cedar County show the County’s valuation went down from $2.691 billion in 2016 to $2.618 billion this year.
County valuation figures are used each year to help the County and other taxing entities determine where to set their mill levy.
The $73 million valuation decrease can mainly be attributed to a couple of factors, said Cedar County Clerk Dave Dowling, who prepares Cedar County’s budget each year for Cedar County Commissioners.
Dowling said a decline in the price of ag land sales in the southern portion of the county is the main factor for the decrease.
The natural depreciation of the TransCanada pipeline, which runs through the county, and railroad property in the county, are also factors for the $73 million decrease, he said.
The last time the County saw a valuation decline was in 1997 when total valuation went down from $442,979,684 to $420,319,375.
Cedar County also saw a valuation decrease in 1994 when valuation went down to $402,889,225 from $412,227,265.
Cedar County is not alone in this valuation decrease.
Dowling said several other area counties are also reporting a valuation decrease because of declining ag land prices.
He said preliminary reports show Dixon County with a $45 million decline in property valuation.
Valuation fluctuations on ag land  make a big difference in the total valuation for the county, according to Cedar County Assessor Don Hoesing.
“This year we lowered the valuations in the south part of the county. The valuations were lowered about the same amount they had been raised last year,” Hoesing said.
Assessed ag land valuations for tax purposes have to be based on the selling price of the real estate that occurred in the three previous years.
For several years farm land sales in Cedar County have reflected the need for the county to be split in two market areas due to the distinct difference in the sales between the two areas.
Ag sales, which usually come in higher in the south part of the county, had dropped in Market Area Two which includes Precincts Fifteen, Sixteen, Seventeen, Nineteen, Twenty and Twenty-one – areas in the Coleridge, Randolph, Belden and Laurel communities.