Property tax assessments for the Natrona County Mail Wednesday; valuations up around 15%

Assessor Matt Keating meets with the Natrona County Commission 4/5/22 (Gregory Hirst, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo.– Natrona County property tax assessment notices will be issued by the assessor’s office on Wednesday, May 4, and the seller’s relentless market means many ratepayers should be prepared to see their ratings increase.

“We’re open and ready to have the conversation to show them how we got to their value,” Natrona County Assessor Matt Keating told Oil City on Tuesday.

Estimated farm, personal and commercial property values ​​”have gone up about 15% across the board,” Keating said, “and that’s based on sales.”

Two factors determine a final property tax assessment. One is the replacement cost of the new house. The other is the value of the land the house sits on. This is determined by all valid sales within the same land economic zone. (LEAs are similar to neighborhoods, but not necessarily geographically connected.)

It’s a well-known fact now, Keating said, that this has been a seller’s market in Natrona County for the past few years.

Keating and various real estate agents agree that many of those buyers are from out of state. They come to work remotely, flee urban areas and seek more favorable tax and political climates, as well as to retire in the Mountain West. Many are snapping up properties without seeing them, officials said.

Real estate leaders real estate agent Andrew Blonigan estimated on Tuesday that the average sale price of a single-family home has risen 25 to 30 per cent over the past year.

Keating said the value of his own home has gone from $275,000 to $315,000 over the past year.

“I think it would sell for $315 [thousand] in this market all day,” he said.

The Wyoming State Board of Equalization statistically requires tracking the assessed value of a property with all valid market sales within the LEA of that property.

For several years before Keating took over in 2019, Natrona County assessments were statistically inconsistent with the state’s mandate, and many were undervalued. Keating’s initial, admittedly imperfect, system overhaul won him the endorsement of the state’s BOE, but also resulted in sticker shock for many residents.

The county commission sympathized with many of the hundreds, if not thousands, of protest cases it eventually heard, but was limited in the actions it could take. They can only uphold an assessment or defer the decision; they cannot set a value.

Taxpayers have until June 3 at 5 p.m. to file a formal protest. Because Wyoming is a non-disclosure state, that’s the only time they can legally review sales used to determine land value, Keating said.

“Our doors are always open for taxpayers to come and talk about their assessment, but this 30-day window is the only one to file a formal appeal if they decide to do so,” he said.

In 2022, the Wyoming Legislature renewed certain property tax relief and deferment programs for honorably discharged veterans and five-year Wyoming residents who meet certain income requirements.

Application deadlines begin at the end of May. More information can be found here, and applications are initially processed by county offices.

The ratings can also be viewed online from May 4.

Penny D. Jackson