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County coffers remain low

February 22, 2013

 

Property taxes lag behind state

 

Sluggish property tax revenues will make budgets tight for yet another year in Mono County, according to county officials.

While the rest of the state is beginning the slow climb out of the recession, Mono County is lagging in terms of property tax revenues, mostly due to some of the rural areas of the county where property prices have yet to bottom out.

“We are about 18 months behind the rest of the state,” said assistant finance officer Roberta Reed Tuesday, as she gave the county supervisors a preview of the year’s budget.

She noted that Mono County fell into the recession later than the rest of the state, and, as such, is recovering later.

Rural properties outside of Mammoth Lakes, especially in North County, are holding property prices down overall, she said.

But there are signs of recovery in the county, according to officials.

Foreclosures have dropped significantly, from dozens to single digits, she said. And, as fewer foreclosures go on the market and fewer people are delinquent in paying property taxes, the county’s coffers improve compared to the past few years.

In some places, prices for homes and property are beginning to climb, not decrease.

“Mammoth Lakes properties are beginning to stabilize and even increase,” Reed said.

County supervisors were cautious.

“There are still too many factors out there that could affect us,” said Supervisor Byng Hunt, pointing to uncertain state and federal fiscal situations.

Supervisor Larry Johnston asked for specific numbers regarding property tax revenues and trends, and got the support of the rest of the supervisors to bring the subject up for discussion at a later date.

The county supervisors will start an in-depth mid-year budget review process in the next month or two.

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